Climate Alarm at Summit
Those attending a U.N. climate-change summit in Poland were warned that today’s generation is the last that can prevent catastrophic global warming by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
Famed British naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who attended the gathering, gave the dire warning: “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
The summit convened as scientists announced that the last four years have been the hottest on record, and that the planet’s average temperature is on track to rise between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9.0 F) by the end of the century.
A new report released in conjunction with the summit said that instead of falling around the world as agreed to by world governments, global carbon emissions will jump 2.7 percent to a record high by the end of 2018, mainly due to booming industrial output.
Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin say they have discovered dozens of new species of exotic bacteria in extremely hot deep-sea ocean sediment that appear to have the ability to consume hydrocarbons such as methane and butane to survive and thrive.
Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers say the microbes might be harnessed to curb the concentrations of some greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and someday even help clean up oil spills.
The bacteria, found in the Guaymas Basin of the Gulf of California, are so genetically different from other known species that they represent new branches in Earth’s tree of life.