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NASA: "Earth in Peril" - Several metre sea level rise this century
Posted on 25 Jun 2007
25 June 07 - For immediate Release - Melbourne, Australia - http://bze.org.au
Sea levels will rise by several metres by the end of the century due to rapidly increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, according to research by a group of esteemed international scientists. Led by James Hansen from NASA's Goddard Institute, the group warns that the Earth is 'perilously' close to entering a new era of dangerous runaway climate change.
The peer-reviewed paper predicts that humans have less than ten years to make substantial reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions to avoid dangerous climate change. The West Antarctic ice sheet in particular is dangerously sensitive, with the potential to add over five metres to global sea levels within two centuries when collapsed.
"This paper spells devastation for Australia," said Matthew Wright, lead spokesman for Beyond Zero Emissions. "The impact of the predicted sea level rise will have cataclysmic effects for the millions of Australians in coastal communities around the nation. The events in New South Wales recently are just a small taste of what's to come."
Global greenhouse gas concentrations have increased by a third in the past two hundred years, and currently sit at 430 ppm CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). Hansen has presented evidence that shows the planet has already entered 'serious' climate change conditions, which will tip into 'dangerous' at approximately 450 ppm CO2e.
"This paper proves that we have to act now," says Mr. Wright. "There is little point setting 2020 or 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets. We have too much carbon in the air right now, in 2007.
"We are placing our planet and ourselves at unacceptable risk. We simply must reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible, and then to naturally extract the remaining carbon excess from the atmosphere."
The IPCC had forecast that global warming would result in a rise of between 18 and 59 centimetres. However, Dr Jim Hansen, climatologist with NASA, argues that the UN panel did not take into account melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
"That's beginning to lose mass and it is situated on bedrock which is below sea level, so it's potentially unstable and could give a very large sea-level rise," said Dr Hansen.
Beyond Zero Emissions is calling on the Australian Government to take global leadership and to legislate national zero emission targets. The technology is already available. All that is required is the political will.
Jim Hansen (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies) will speak at the "Zero Emissions Conference" to be held at RMIT Melbourne, June 30th/July 1st . Dr. Hansen will be speaking at approximately 9:15 on Saturday morning.
For comment ring:
Matthew Wright 0421 616 733
www.bze.org.au Beyond Zero Emissions is an independent Zero Emission Minus Climate Change campaign.
Beyond Zero Emissions Inc. is a not-for-profit research and education organisation known for its work designing and implementing a zero emissions economy for Australia. Its goal is to transform Australia from a 19th century fossil fuel based, emissions intensive, economy to a 21st-century renewable-energy-powered clean-tech economy. Read more
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