Effects to Date
Is it Our Fault?
There are certain thresholds which could cause the rate of
climate change to accelerate very rapidly with spiralling effects, causing
uncontrollable "runaway warming":
Rising temperatures could cause the huge stores of carbon
dioxide and methane in forests and
soils to be released. Similarly from melting
Rising sea temperatures could trigger release of vast quantities of methane (a very potent greenhouse gas) from crystal structures in the sea.
Peat bogs, which are believed to contain one
third of the carbon stored on land, have been found to be releasing CO2 to
the environment at a rapidly accelerating rate - up to 6% per annum - encouraged by the amount of CO2
already present in the surrounding air.
People in hotter areas of the world will use
more air conditioning and those in colder areas (such as the UK if the Gulf
Stream “switches off”), more heating. All round, this means more energy
consumption, contributing to even greater climate change.
Geologists have found that sudden increases in warming have happened before –
within a time-span of a few years, e.g. 65m and 250 million years ago (believed due to
either extreme volcanic activity or an asteroid), resulting in the extinction
of most species.