Effect' May Cause Global Warming To Reach Crisis Point In 2050
By Sarah Cassidy
01 September 2006
world faces a catastrophic rise in global warming in 2050 unless urgent
action is taken to cut human-induced carbon emissions, a leading academic
Professor Peter Cox, of Exeter
University, told the Royal Geographical Society annual conference that
temperatures could rise 8C by 2100 because of a "compost effect"
which could see carbon dioxide levels increase 50 per cent faster than
Currently, around one quarter
of carbon emissions are absorbed by the soil and one quarter by the
oceans. It had previously been assumed that these proportions would
remain the same. But Professor Cox said that global warming is damaging
the soil's ability to absorb carbon emissions.
He said this vicious circle
would reach crisis point in 2050 when a key threshold would be passed.
After this point the land would begin to release carbon into the atmosphere.
He predicted that this "compost effect" would lead to carbon
dioxide levels rising from the current 380 parts per million to more
than 1,000 parts per million by 2100.
Professor Cox warned that
the Amazonian rainforest would be lost unless urgent action was taken
to keep carbon dioxide levels below 500 parts per million. Higher levels
of CO2 would see rainfall move away from the Amazon basin causing its
lush vegetation to die.
In a separate report, the
growing threat of climate change to Britain was highlighted yesterday
with an urgent call for the reintroduction of salt marshes along the
country's coasts and estuaries.
A leading academic said that
action was needed to stop flooding of coastal areas as global warming
produced higher sea levels.
© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited