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 user 2007-03-12 at 10:00:00 am Views: 58
  • #17580

    Scientists Offer Dire Forecast for Earth
    Climate Report Warns of Global Warming Effects
    (March 07) – The harmful effects of global warming  on daily life are
    already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions
    of people won’t have enough water, top scientists will say next month
    at a meeting in Belgium.

    Ominous Predictions
    draft document by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns
    that some effects of global warming are only decades away.At the same
    time, tens of millions of others will be flooded out of their homes
    each year as the Earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels,
    according to a portions of a draft of an international scientific
    report obtained by The Associated Press.Tropical diseases like malaria
    will spread. By 2050, polar bears will mostly be found in zoos, their
    habitats gone. Pests like fire ants will thrive.For a time, food will
    be plentiful because of the longer growing season in northern regions.
    But by 2080, hundreds of millions of people could face starvation,
    according to the report, which is still being revised.The draft
    document by the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    focuses on global warming’s effects and is the second in a series of
    four being issued this year. Written and reviewed by more than 1,000
    scientists from dozens of countries, it still must be edited by
    government officials.But some scientists said the overall message is
    not likely to change when it’s issued in early April in Brussels, the
    same city where European Union  leaders agreed this past week to
    drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Their plan will be
    presented to President Bush  and other world leaders at a summit in
    June.The report offers some hope if nations slow and then reduce their
    greenhouse gas emissions, but it notes that what’s happening now isn’t

    The Global Warming Threat
    in climate are now affecting physical and biological systems on every
    continent,” the report says, in marked contrast to a 2001 report by the
    same international group that said the effects of global warming were
    coming. But that report only mentioned scattered regional
    effects.”Things are happening and happening faster than we expected,”
    said Patricia Romero Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric
    Research in Boulder, Colo., one of the many co-authors of the new
    report.The draft document says scientists are highly confident that
    many current problems — change in species’ habits and habitats, more
    acidified oceans, loss of wetlands, bleaching of coral reefs, and
    increases in allergy-inducing pollen — can be blamed on global
    warming.For example, the report says North America “has already
    experienced substantial ecosystem, social and cultural disruption from
    recent climate extremes,” such as hurricanes and wildfires.But the
    present is nothing compared to the future.Global warming soon will
    “affect everyone’s life … it’s the poor sectors that will be most
    affected,” Romero Lankao said.And co-author Terry Root of Stanford
    University said: “We truly are standing at the edge of mass extinction”
    of species.

    Scientists blame climate change on man’s addiction to fossil fuels.
    of millions of Africans and tens of millions of Latin Americans who now
    have water will be short of it in less than 20 years. By 2050, more
    than 1 billion people in Asia could face water shortages. By 2080,
    water shortages could threaten 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion people,
    depending on the level of greenhouse gases that cars and industry spew
    into the air.Death rates for the world’s poor from global
    warming-related illnesses, such as malnutrition and diarrhea, will rise
    by 2030. Malaria and dengue fever, as well as illnesses from eating
    contaminated shellfish, are likely to grow.Europe’s small glaciers will
    disappear with many of the continent’s large glaciers shrinking
    dramatically by 2050. And half of Europe’s plant species could be
    vulnerable, endangered or extinct by 2100.By 2080, between 200 million
    and 600 million people could be hungry because of global warming’s
    effects.About 100 million people each year could be flooded by 2080 by
    rising seas.Smog in U.S. cities will worsen and “ozone-related deaths
    from climate (will) increase by approximately 4.5 percent for the
    mid-2050s, compared with 1990s levels,” turning a small health risk
    into a substantial one.

    Polar bears in the wild and other animals will be pushed to extinction.
    first, more food will be grown. For example, soybean and rice yields in
    Latin America will increase starting in a couple of years. Areas
    outside the tropics, especially the northern latitudes, will see longer
    growing seasons and healthier forests.Looking at different impacts on
    ecosystems, industry and regions, the report sees the most positive
    benefits in forestry and some improved agriculture and transportation
    in polar regions. The biggest damage is likely to come in ocean and
    coastal ecosystems, water resources and coastal settlements.The
    hardest-hit continents are likely to be Africa and Asia, with major
    harm also coming to small islands and some aspects of ecosystems near
    the poles. North America, Europe and Australia are predicted to suffer
    the fewest of the harmful effects.”In most parts of the world and most
    segments of populations, lifestyles are likely to change as a result of
    climate change,” the draft report said. “Net valuations of benefits vs.
    costs will vary, but they are more likely to be negative if climate
    change is substantial and rapid, rather than if it is moderate and
    gradual.”This report – considered by some scientists the “emotional
    heart” of climate change research – focuses on how global warming
    alters the planet and life here, as opposed to the more science-focused
    report by the same group last month.”This is the story. This is the
    whole play. This is how it’s going to affect people. The science is one
    thing. This is how it affects me, you and the person next door,” said
    University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver.Many – not all -
    of those effects can be prevented, the report says, if within a
    generation the world slows down its emissions of carbon dioxide and if
    the level of greenhouse gases sticking around in the atmosphere
    stabilizes. If that’s the case, the report says “most major impacts on
    human welfare would be avoided; but some major impacts on ecosystems
    are likely to occur.”The United Nations-organized network of 2,000
    scientists was established in 1988 to give regular assessments of the
    Earth’s environment. The document issued last month in Paris concluded
    that scientists are 90 percent certain that people are the cause of
    global warming and that warming will continue for centuries.