Climate change is not going to be a bad thing for every part of the world. It will help make the frozen north of Russia and Canada more liveable and more productive.
Billions of the world’s poorest people, however, will be at risk of more erratic rainfall patterns. Some arid regions will turn into deserts and rising seas will inundate fertile but low lying delta regions that are home to tens of millions of peasant farmers in countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt.
Global warming will also mean more forest fires; hurricanes hitting cities that are at present too far north of the equator to be affected by them; tropical diseases spreading beyond their present zones; the extinction of species unable to adapt to warmer temperatures; retreating glaciers and melting polar icecaps; and rising seas inundating coastal areas.
A far worse scenario cannot be ruled out: some scientists believe the melting icecaps could release huge amounts of methane that accelerate warming forming a cloud layer so dense as to block out heat from the sun and cause the planet to go into a deep freeze that extinguishes all life.
Professor Peter Singer, in the Sydney Morning Herald 28 Apr 2006 – screencopy held by this website