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Updated 11 November 2004

Consequences Vol. 2, No. 2, 1996









About twenty years ago the physicist Andrei Sakharov, then a dissident voice in his country, made known his view of the four principal threats that faced mankind. They were, in order, nuclear war, hunger, environmental degradation, and the "stultifying effects of mass culture."

Were he alive today, Sakharov's list of grave concerns might well be different. It must count as progress that his topmost, though still with us, has tumbled to a lower tier, and that others that lay so long beneath it are now exposed to the brighter light of world awareness.

Hunger, Sakharov's number two, still looks us in the face, although as Bob Kates explains in his article in this issue, this need not always be. Even hunger could fall, had we the will to make it go away. Kates also reminds us that like so many problems, the roots of hunger are tangled with all the rest, including the environment--Sakharov's number three--and most surely population, which many would add to his list today.

John A. Eddy

As we hope to do from time to time, we include below the revised year-by- year values of the global average surface temperature of our planet as compiled at the British Meteorological Office from land and ocean stations, and kindly provided by David Parker, Hadley Centre, Bracknell, U.K. As one can see, the most recent year, 1995, was the warmest in the 130 years of record. The smoothed, dark line is a 21-year running average.

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