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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Climate Change may unify planet as global warming imperils all

Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon on urgency of global warming

Globe and Mail Update

November 30, 2007 at 3:41 PM EST

Global warming is "an emergency unlike anything humankind has ever faced before," Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon argued Saturday in his Globe essay The sequel to Kyoto

"A few years ago, scientists regarded global warming as a matter of serious concern," he wrote.

"Now many appear to think that it's a matter of grave urgency — that we may be running out of time . . .

"Climate scientists are now beginning to discuss a topic that only two years ago many fervently hoped they'd never have to discuss — geoengineering, or the intentional human modification of the planet's climate to arrest or slow global warming.
Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon

Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon
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The Globe and Mail

"Geoengineering would involve, for example, putting sulphates aerosols into the atmosphere or putting mirrors into space to try to block a fraction of incoming solar radiation.

"Today the topic is at the margins of the public-policy dialogue about climate change.

"But I expect it will be at the centre of public discussion within five years.

"In 10 years, we will see demands from some segments of the public and many opinion leaders that we carry out geoengineering.

"And we'll probably start doing it within 20 years, likely when it becomes apparent that the Greenland ice sheet is starting to collapse."

Whether you agree or not, it's a provocative argument and we are pleased that Prof. Homer-Dixon will be online Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon EST to take your questions on this essay and on global warming.

Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon holds the George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at University College, University of Toronto.

He was born in Victoria and received his B.A. in political science from Carleton University in 1980 and his Ph.D. from MIT in international relations and defense and arms control policy in 1989.

He then moved to the University of Toronto to lead several research projects studying the links between environmental stress and violence in developing countries.

Recently, his research has focused on threats to global security in the 21st century and on how societies adapt to complex economic, ecological, and technological change.

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