There is clear evidence that the surface of our planet is
warming up. This evidence comes from a range of sources, including
meteorological records, but also from how nature is responding.
The range of territory of wildlife such as birds, butterflies
and alpine herbs has shifted northward an average of 6.1 kilometres
per decade, or to higher altitudes by an average of 6.1 metres.
Stalactites in caves in Britain are growing faster as more
water is able to seep through the surface. The growing season
for crops in Australia is getting longer and permafrost is
melting in Siberia and Canada. All this may not sound too
serious, except it is all happening too fast for many animals
to adapt in time, and will ultimately lead to extinctions
on a massive scale and a loss of biodiversity. There is a
very real possibility that the geographical range of tropical
diseases such as malaria will also increase as insects find
it easier to survive in what were former temperate zones.
It also means regions once considered stable in terms of climate
may no longer be that way in 50 to 100 years.
Many low-lying countries and islands will disappear as the
sea level rises when polar ice caps melt and release water
currently trapped in them. This would lead to a global problem
However, some countries may actually cool down as protecting
ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream change course. Britain
could find itself gripped by the severe winter storms which
regularly effect the north east coastal areas of North America.
The best computer models predict that we need to cut greenhouse
emissions by approximately 70% if we have any hope of slowing
down global warming.