Lestor Brown’s comment

Lestor Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute and author of the definitive book “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilisation”, stated (30 Sept 09):

Asia is the epicentre of the food crisis where wheat and rice production will fall because water shortages caused by past over-pumping and the melting of the Himalayan glaciers which store water that suppliers the region’s main rivers: The Indus, Ganges and Yangtse.

“The potential loss of these mountain glaciers is the most massive projected threat to food security ever seen.”

Met Office report

Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, presented calculations on the effects of continued unmitigated burning of fossil fuels (29 Sept 09), concluding:

  • …… an increase in average summer temperatures of at least 20C is inevitable by the 2040s because of accumulated carbon dioxide already emitted into the atmosphere.
  • ….. a “best estimate” is that 40C will be reached by 2070, with a possibility that it will come as early as 2060.
  • “Four degrees of warming, averaged over the globe, translates into even greater warming in many regions, along with major changes in rainfall.”  In some areas warming could be significantly higher (10 degrees or more).
  • Richard Betts described himself as “shocked” that so much warming could occur within the lifetimes of people alive today.  “If greenhouse gas emissions are not cut soon then we could see major climate changes within our own lifetimes,” he said.
  • Dr Betts added: “Together these impacts will have very large consequences for food security, water availability and health. However, it is possible to avoid these dangerous levels of temperature rise by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. If global emissions peak within the next decade and then decrease rapidly it may be possible to avoid at least half of the four degrees of warming.”
  • The Times commented:  “……..it would be hard to dispute the quality of the science that underpins this report — the product of 12 years of detailed research by the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, part of the Met Office.”