Sunday, March 11, 2007

Report: Climate effects here now

Sometimes I feel I'm posting far too much about this subject, but it does seem to be accelerating. When scientists seem to be scared, its serious because they don't panic easily.
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 are expected to say next month at a meeting in Belgium.

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 portions of a draft of an international scientific report obtained by the Associated Press.

Tropical diseases like malaria will spread, the report says. 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
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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 encouraging.

(read more)

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