Environmentalists and scientists today focus on the dangers of global warming provoked by man's detrimental effect on the planet's climate, but global cooling - though never widely supported - is a theory postulating an overwhelming cooling of the Earth which could involve glaciation.
"On the basis of our [solar emission] research, we developed a scenario of a global cooling of the Earth's climate by the middle of this century and the beginning of a regular 200-year-long cycle of the climate's global warming at the start of the 22nd century," said the head of the space research sector of the Russian Academy of Sciences' astronomical observatory.
Khabibullo Abdusamatov said he and his colleagues had concluded that a period of global cooling similar to one seen in the late 17th century - when canals froze in the Netherlands and people had to leave their dwellings in Greenland - could start in 2012-2015 and reach its peak in 2055-2060.
He said he believed the future climate change would have very serious consequences and that authorities should start preparing for them today because "climate cooling is connected with changing temperatures, especially for northern countries."
"The Kyoto initiatives to save the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off until better times," he said, referring to an international treaty on climate change targeting greenhouse gas emissions.
"The global temperature maximum has been reached on Earth, and Earth's global temperature will decline to a climatic minimum even without the Kyoto protocol," Abdusamatov said.