UCL News


'Seven Years to Save the Planet'

28 August 2008


Book co.uk/books/7-years.html" target="_self">'Seven Years to Save the Planet'
  • Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre
  • The latest book by Professor Bill McGuire (Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre) is a call to arms for humanity to avoid environmental catastrophe.

    In 'Seven Years to Save the Planet: The Questions … and Answers' (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), Professor McGuire asserts that for the first time in the history of the Earth one species has grown so numerous and so technologically powerful that it has the ability to destabilize the narrow range of temperature within which life can flourish: "Ours is the guilty generation, but we will only just begin to feel the consequences of our actions; it is our children and grandchildren who will reap the whirlwind."

    Professor McGuire, a leading scientist at the cutting edge of natural hazard prediction and the impacts of climate change, reveals the reasons why humanity cannot afford to wait, among them:

    • slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by mid-century may still not stave off climate chaos
    • carbon dioxide levels are rising four times faster than in the 1990s
    • warmer oceans have already driven up Atlantic hurricane activity by 40% since the mid-1990s
    • the annual number of major floods has shot up from around 100 in the early 1990s to nearer 250 in recent years
    • the United Nations identifies 158 flashpoints where wars could be fought over increasingly precious water resources
    • even a 1m sea-level rise will threaten the homes of a billion people and put one third of the world's farmland at risk
    • by 2050, a quarter of the world's land animals and plants could be extinct.

    Professor McGuire says: "This book is a call to arms. We have time still to halt and reverse the process. However we need to throw our engines into reverse now to have any chance of controlling our carbon emissions and winning the battle against dangerous climate change and potential environmental catastrophe."

    Professor McGuire has for the last 10 years run the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, the biggest academic hazard research centre in Europe, which advises governments, multinationals and NGOs on natural hazard and climate change.

    To find out more use the links at the top of this article.