of glaciers, loss of biodiversity inevitable'
Indo-Asian News Service
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) Even if greenhouse gas emissions
are fixed at 2005 levels, irreversible warming will lead to
biodiversity loss and substantial glacial melting, warns a
new analysis by an Indian-American scientist.
"This paper demonstrates the major challenges society
will have to face in dealing with a problem that now seems
unavoidable," said V. Ramanathan, the paper's co-author
and professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San
"We hope that governments will not be forced to consider
trade-offs between air pollution abatement and mitigation
of greenhouse gas emissions." he said.
Ramanathan and co-author Yan Feng, assumed a highly optimistic
scenario that greenhouse gas concentrations would remain constant
at 2005 levels for the next century.
The earth will warm about 2.4° C above pre-industrial levels
even under extremely conservative greenhouse-gas emission
scenarios, according to their analysis.
The researchers argued that coping with these circumstances
will require "transformational research for guiding the
path of future energy consumption," reports Eurekalert.
For the concentrations to remain at such levels, emissions
of carbon dioxide must decrease drastically within the next
decade, but which is likely to be undone by economic expansion.
The researchers then analysed expected future warming by assuming
that the cooling effect of man-made aerosol pollution will
be eliminated during the 21st Century.
Currently, particulate air pollution caused by fossil fuel
combustion, forest fires and smoke from cooking and agricultural
waste burning serves to mask global warming caused by greenhouse
gases. The smog does so chiefly by creating a dimming effect
at Earth's surface.
But mitigation of this type of pollution has been increasingly
successful by countries around the world. Because soot and
similar particles remain airborne only for a matter of weeks,
it is expected that clean-up efforts produce relatively immediate
Therefore, the authors based their projections of temperature
increase assuming the absence of these pollutants in the atmosphere.
Conversely, greenhouse gases can remain in the atmosphere
for decades or, in the case of carbon dioxide, more than a
These findings appear in the online edition of the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences.
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