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Still Waters

Climate change could be accelerated by

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Climate change could be accelerated dramatically by rising levels of methane in the Earth’s atmosphere, scientists will warn today.

Atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas, which is as much as 60 times more potent than carbon dioxide, appear to have risen significantly for the past three years running, scientists say.

Experts have long feared that vast amounts of the natural gas trapped in the frozen tundra of the Arctic could be unlocked as the permafrost is melted by rising temperatures, triggering a "methane time bomb" that could cause temperatures to soar.

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This is one of several potential positive feedback loops by which we could push our planet into a new stable climatic regime, warmer than the interglacial we are currently in.

In the LONGEST of long runs, the planet is fine - things adapt to new conditions and have since the beginning of life. However, to quote George Carlin: "The planet isn't going anywhere... we are!" Large scale changes in climate can very adversely affect modern global civilization.

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With the proper investments, we could cope with parts of the problem, like disease, but things will still get bad.

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