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Climate peril: is it too late?

Imagine that astronomers discovered that a huge meteor was due to hit Earth in three months.

Would we sit around for weeks arguing whether or not the meteor was real, then half-heartedly convene a UN meeting to pass the responsibility for dealing with it around the table? Of course not; we would work swiftly and collectively as the human race to avert disaster.

We can cast aside our "selfish gene" only when confronted with a massive, immediate and easily identifiable common enemy.

I fear the calamitous effects of a 3.5 degrees temperature rise this century are inevitable, and much worse will follow. As the meteor grows ever larger in the telescope the world merely bickers – and perversely continues the suicidal pursuit of more carbon-based fuels.

We may well produce great leaders in the future (perhaps even Obama in unhampered second-term form) who could inspire the "wartime" mentality that is necessary to unite a people. However, I think even this hope is empty because the global warming meteor is invisible, its existence doubted by many. By the time it is "visible" we can be sure it will be far too late.

Fraser Devlin, London SE15

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