COLUMBUS, Ohio One of the world's foremost experts on climate change is warning that if humans don't moderate their use of fossil fuels, there is a real possibility that we will face the environmental, societal and economic consequences of climate change faster than we can adapt to them.
Lonnie Thompson, distinguished university professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University, posed that possibility in a just-released special climate-change edition of the journal The Behavior Analyst.
He also discussed how the rapid and accelerating retreat of the world's glaciers and ice sheets dramatically illustrates the nature of the changing climate.
It is the first time in a published paper that he has recommended specific action to forestall the growing effects of climate change. During the last three decades, Thompson has led 57 expeditions to some of the world's most remote high altitude regions to retrieve cores from glaciers and ice caps that preserve a record of ancient climate.
In the past Thompson has let his research data and conclusions speak for him but in this paper, intended for social scientists and behavior experts, he voiced his concern regarding the risks that ignoring the evidence of climate change may bring.
"Unless large numbers of people take appropriate steps, including supporting governmental regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, our only options will be adaptation and suffering," he wrote in the concluding paragraph.
"And the longer we delay, the more unpleasant the adaptations and the greater the suffering will be."
In the paper (available here), Thompson said that virtually all climate researchers "are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization."
His opinion isn't hyperbole, he said, but instead is based on a "very clear pattern in the scientific evidence documenting that the Earth is warmi
|Contact: Lonnie Thompson|
Ohio State University