Friday, February 2, 2007

No Stopping Global Warming

The explosive UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is finally out and it is making headlines all over the world.
The Eiffel Tower is shown just before the 20,000 bulbs went out Thursday Feb. 1, 2007 at 7.55 p.m for five-minutes. The City of Light went dim when thousands of Parisians joined in a five-minutes "lights-out" campaign aimed at showing citizens concern over climate change. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) (AP) -- The Eiffel Tower's 20,000 sparkling bulbs went dark for five minutes Thursday night and the lights went out at the Colosseum in Rome and the Greek parliament in Athens in a demonstration of concern about climate change across the European continent.

Read the LA Times story on the report. (As a sidebar to the story, the LA Times has a graphic illustration about curbing greenhouse gases for registered users. Registration is free.)
Here are the main findings, as published by the AP:

THE CAUSE: Global warming is "very likely'' caused by man, the strongest conclusion to date.

THE OUTLOOK: Now that the world has begun to warm, hotter temperatures and rises in sea level "would continue for centuries'' no matter how much humans control their pollution.

TEMPERATURE CHANGE: The panel predicted temperature rises of 2-11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. That was a wider range than in the 2001 report.
However, the panel also said its best estimate was for temperature rises of 3.2-7.1 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2001, all the panel gave was a range of 2.5-10.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

SEA LEVELS: The report projected rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9-7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

HURRICANES: An increase in hurricane and tropical cyclone strength since 1970 "more likely than not'' can be attributed to man-made global warming. The scientists said global warming's connection varies with storms in different parts of the world, but that the storms that strike the Americas are global warming-influenced.

According to an article in the New York Times, (registration required)
''It is critical that we look at this report ... as a moment where the focus of attention will shift from whether climate change is linked to human activity, whether the science is sufficient, to what on earth are we going to do about it,'' said Achim Steiner, the executive director of the U.N. Environment Program.
''The public should not sit back and say 'There's nothing we can do','' Steiner said. ''Anyone who would continue to risk inaction on the basis of the evidence presented here will one day in the history books be considered irresponsible.''

Read related stories in the New York Times Environment section. (registration required.)

Meanwhile, Al Gore has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to raise awareness about global warming, according to the Chicago Tribune.
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