Climate change: have we reached the irreversible stage?

By Karen Galarpe, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jun 09 2010 06:48 PM | Updated as of Jun 10 2010 11:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Planet earth is in a crisis.

The earth's temperature is rising, the icecaps are melting, the ecosystem is in distress, and time is running out.

At the SMX Convention Center Tuesday afternoon, former US Vice President Al Gore detailed how the climate is changing in Asia and the rest of the world.

"We're changing the atmosphere primarily through the burning of fossil fuels," said Gore. This results to higher CO2 levels and rising temperature.

"The earth's temperature increases, melting virtually all ice regions of the world," he said. Glaciers are melting, and with the seven major rivers of Asia (which include the Mekong in Vietnam and the Yangtze in China) originating from one piece of ice, the Himalayan glacier, Asia is experiencing flooding like never before, as do other parts of the world.

But with rising temperature come droughts too. Gore pointed out record historic droughts in China and Mexico, among other places.

This results in a shifting in ecological boundaries, affecting wildlife and amphibians, which are diminishing.

The coral reefs are not exempt. "The coral reef is an ecosystem in distress," said Gore.

"We are witnessing a collision between our civilization and the earth," he said. Gore added that this is due to three factors: population explosion, scientific and technological revolution, and our way of thinking.

Irreversible?

With all the effects of climate change, someone in the audience asked if we have reached a point where the damage is irreversible. "No, not yet, according to scientists I trust," said Gore. But he said other scientists say there is only a decade left before we reach the irreversible point.

"We have become a force of nature. We have to recognize it and lessen the impact best we can," said Gore.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner reminded the audience we have solved global environment problems in the past. When the ozone layer was thinning, chemicals causing it were banned.

"We can do great things in the world. We have the technology. Don't tell me we can't solve it if we don't put our heads to it," Gore said.

Saving the planet is more than just an economic and political issue, said Gore. "It is a moral, spiritual issue. It goes to our hearts as God's people. It is a moral issue because decisions by the present generation will have a profound effect on future generations."