Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hit Danger Mark: Scientist
SYDNEY - The global economic boom has accelerated greenhouse gas emissions to a dangerous threshold not expected for a decade and could potentially cause irreversible climate change, said one of Australia's leading scientists.
Tim Flannery, a world recognized climate change scientist and Australian of the Year in 2007, said a U.N. international climate change report due in November will show that greenhouse gases have already reached a dangerous level.
Flannery said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will show that greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in mid-2005 had reached about 455 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent -- a level not expected for another 10 years.
"We thought we'd be at that threshold within about a decade," Flannery told Australian television late on Monday.
"We thought we had that much time. But the new data indicates that in about mid-2005 we crossed that threshold," he said.
"What the report establishes is that the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that could potentially cause dangerous climate change."
Flannery, from Macquarie University and author of the climate change book "The Weather Makers", said he had seen the raw data which will be in the IPCC Synthesis Report.
He said the measurement of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere included not just carbon dioxide, but also nitrous oxide, methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). All these gases were measured and then equated into potentially one gas to reach a general level.