That new report published in the United-States which flagged the past decade as the "hottest on record" may signal a last-ditch effort to deal with run away climate change. But, I fear for the outcome of the human generations to whom we are leaving the blue planet.
The 2009 "State of the Climate" report which was released less than a week ago by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration combines data on temperature, humidity, sea levels, sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover going as far back as 1850 in some cases. It concludes that the calendar decade 2000-2009 was the warmest of the last five decades, and that each of the last three decades was warmer than the one before.
Sadly the report comes at the same time as polls have shown that the public is becoming less worried about climate change despite clear signals that the earth's temperature is likely to blow right through the fragile point of no return. The N.O.A.A. study concludes that overall, the planet's temperature has gone up just a little more than 0.5 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. It's a generally accepted scientific theory that that earth's warming by 2 degrees Celsius is our species' point of no return.
The United Nations' framework on climate change adopted in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997 is predicated on the +2 Celsius benchmark. Though so far more than 180 countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and pledged to hold (and/or reduce) pollution emissions to 1990 levels; twenty years later offenders...North Americans among the worse...aren't anywhere near compliance. Last year's follow-up Summit on climate change in Copenhagen was a dismal failure; and there isn't any much optimism for the next feeble effort which is scheduled in Cancun, Mexico in 5 months.
I don't subscribe to theories about an abrupt "End Of The World". Clearly though there may be some elements of truth to the myths, stories, and tales like those of the "Old Testament": The Flood; The Apocalypse; Armageddon; - Through to the prophesies of Nostradamus - and the theories of the ancient Mayan Calendar which ends at the winter's Solstice in 2012.
Earth provides the only example of an environment which has given rise to the evolution of life, most of which followed the planet's Ice-Age roughly 600-Million years ago. "Snowball Earth's" receding ice-caps allowed life forms to develop; but the continuum of life has been spotty. Over 98% of species that ever lived are now extinct and it's quite unlikely that the human life-form is any more immune from extinction than were the reptilian dinosaurs:
Planet Earth has survived five major Mass Extinction Events the most recent of which led to the disappearance of the dinosaurs and other large reptiles, but spared some small animals such as mammalian life, some of which eventually diversified into our human life form.
It is abundantly clear that humans have influenced Earth in a short time span as no other life form ever had. Call it any name you wish: Earth, Mother Nature, the Blue Planet, God's creation - It will survive. In the evolution of the Human life form though, not only have we placed ourselves at great risk; but we appear to have hastened the planet's next Mass Extinction Event: Our own!