How to Fight Global Warming? Maybe Just Live With It

John Williams of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, lead author of the report, says some climate zones will disappear entirely, to be replaced by climates that are unlike any in the world today. That is particularly true in the tropics and subtropics, as well as the polar regions where great changes are already taking place, he noted.

Consequences could be far reaching. For example, Williams and his colleagues see more fires and loss of forests in the Amazon region, further desecrating an area that now soaks up a lot of carbon dioxide.

"The potential for ecological surprises in the tropics adds urgency to current conservation efforts," the study concluded.

Not long ago scientists thought climate changes were going to come very slowly, and that made it easier for us to ignore the possible consequences. Why worry today about something that may happen in a hundred years or so?

But it turns out that the changes are coming much more quickly than had been thought. Scores of Native American villages along the northwest coast of Alaska will vanish within the next decade or so. Sea ice that normally protects the communities from fierce winter storms is disappearing, causing the land beneath the villages to erode away. Some of those villages have been there for centuries. But they won't be there much longer.

An entire culture, and lifestyle, will be lost.

The villages could be relocated, but no government agency has come up with the funds to do so. Adaptation, it turns out, is costly in many ways. It's easier to worry about something we cannot change than it is to address problems that we can fix.

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