I wish I weren't a climate change pessimist

The International Climate Congress in Copenhagen this week has stepped up the pressure on those who want to pretend that climate change doesn't exist.

Despite the mockery that has been aimed at those predicting sea level rise in the past, we now hear of catastrophic rises of 1 metre or more by the end of the century.

It seems it is now 'almost impossible' to restrict temperature rises this century to two degrees - itself a target that would cause significant problems in many countries. Figures as high as six degrees have been bandied about. This would truly be devastating - see Mark Lynas' book on the subject. And the increase of carbon dioxide dissolved in the seas giving extra acidity is threatening to endanger many aquatic species.

The repeated message is 'things are worse than we thought they were.' Those who complain about the accuracy of climate models rarely seem to notice that when they are inaccurate they almost always err on the side of caution (arguably, in part, due to political pressure), so things turn out worse than predicted.

I'm afraid I'm a climate change pessimist. I believe that things are going to get worse, and that governments will only take serious action - rather than fiddling around with minor efforts that are more posturing than practical - when things go seriously wrong. I really wish this weren't the case. I don't want to be negative about this. The scientists could have it wrong. Things could magically correct themselves without big efforts on our parts. But the outlook is undoubtedly grim.

(Photo by www.freefoto.com)