What a coincidence that this report should happen to come out just before the UN RIO+20 Earth Summit.
A report just published in Nature by a group of 22 international scientists warns that human activity is quickly pushing the planet to a tipping point, after which time the Earth's ecosystem will suffer a rapid and irreversible collapse. What's worse: They suggest we're nearly there.
By using recent scientific theories, ecosystem modelling, and paleontological evidence, the scientists have concluded that the Earth's ecosystem is poised for a "state-shift", after which time the ecosystem is poised for an imminent collapse that would happen in the "blink of an eye." The report, titled "Approaching a State Shift in Earth's Biosphere," warns that localized ecosystems will shift abruptly and enter into a new state of equilibrium.
Specifically, they recommend five actions that should be taken immediately should we have any hope of delaying or minimizing a planetary-state-shift. These include drastic reductions to population growth, moving to high density areas so that parts of the planet can recover, forcing people to be materially poorer (at least in the short term), and investments in creating technologies to produce and distribute (Code for ration) food in an environmentally friendly way.
Richard Lindzen, a climate scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been a vociferous sceptic on the urgency of global warming, called the warnings "highly implausible."
"Even if their models of the future were correct, what's crucial is the time frame, and no one thinks that something terrible will happen in anything like the future they see," Lindzen said. "Their population predictions are extremely unlikely, and their climate predictions are always hypothetical."
The following quote by American author H L Mencken best sums up the current AGW state of play:
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”