4 February 2007

Global warming is our fault

Agençe France-Presse
Humans are to blame for global warming and its effects could be unstoppable for centuries to come, according to the U.N. climate change panel.
Global warming is our fault

Global warming is human-caused, and will likely lead to rising sea levels and fierce storms over the next decades and centuries, according to the U.N. climate change panel. Credit: iStockphoto

PARIS: Humans are to blame for global warming and its effects could be unstoppable for centuries to come, according to the U.N. climate change panel.

A report released on Friday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the world’s premier scientific authority on global warming – predicted increasingly intense storms, heat waves and heavy rains in the decades to come.

The Earth’s average surface temperature will likely increase between 1.8°C and 4°C and sea levels will rise between 18 cm and 59 cm by 2100, the report said.

The impact of pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will cause serious climate disruptions “for more than a millennium,” the IPCC said. The exhaustive study by 2,500 scientists from more than 100 countries sounded alarms about the impact of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, and is designed to help policy makers.

Sea rises, the report notes, are predicted to shrink both the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps, and in some projections “Arctic late summer ice disappears almost entirely by the latter part of the 21st century.”

It is likely that that future tropical cyclones – similar to the one that devastated New Orleans – will become more intense, with large peak wind speeds and heavy precipitation, it said.

Britain’s environment minister, David Miliband, said the report confirmed “concerns that the window of opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change is closing more quickly than previously thought.”

Environmental pressure groups responded by calling for urgent international action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Friends of the Earth said the world now faced a “crisis,” and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) conservation group said governments must now “slash emissions”. Greenpeace warned the “window for action is narrowing fast”.

“The IPCC report embodies an extraordinary scientific consensus that climate change is already upon us and that human activities are the cause,” said WWF International director general James Leape.
“It is a clarion call to governments to act urgently to slash emissions,” he added in a statement.

Jan Kowalzig, climate and energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said, “The IPCC report scientifically confirms the extent of this man-made crisis already hitting people around the world and makes bleak predictions for the future.” He added: “We can no longer afford to ignore growing and compelling warnings from the world’s leading experts.”

WWF said governments must ensure the next U.N. Climate Conference, set for Bali, Indonesia, in December, is a success. Hans Verolme, head of the WWF global climate change programme, said it must set a “tight time frame for negotiating new cuts in emissions within a next Kyoto Agreement that will also promote clean investments.”

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Stephanie Tunmore, called the IPCC report a “screaming siren” of a warning. “The good news is our understanding of the climate system and our impact on it has improved immensely. The bad news is that the more we know, the more precarious the future looks,” Tunmore said.

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