WHEN it comes to destruction, natural disasters such as the earthquake – witness Haiti – volcanic eruption, hurricane and tsunami take some beating.

Strangely, though, this does not make for real Doomsday reading despite the awe-inspiring avalanche of fearsome facts and figures… until you count the human effect on the future of the planet.

And then you do get a cold shiver, for while it is possible we may well go out with a bang, it is far more likely we will whimper our way to extinction with the biggest carbon footprints in history.