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Sunday, October 31, 2004

New comprehensive study: Global warming is having a rapid effect on environment, industry

The Washington Post reports:

"The most comprehensive international assessment of Arctic climate change has concluded that Earth's upper latitudes are experiencing unprecedented increases in temperature, glacial melting and weather pattern changes, with most of those changes attributable to the human generation of greenhouse gases from automobiles, power plants and other sources.

The 144-page report is the work of a coalition of eight nations that have Arctic territories -- including the United States, which has hosted and financed the coalition's secretariat at the University of Alaska.

The findings, which reflect four years of study, confirm earlier evidence that the Arctic is warming far more quickly than the earth overall, with temperature increases in some northern regions exceeding by tenfold the average 1 degree Fahrenheit increase experienced on Earth in the past 100 years...

Those changes are already having practical impacts, including a reduction in the number of days each year that the tundra is hard enough to be driven on or drilled safely for oil. They can be expected to have even greater impact in the near future, the report predicts, in terms of agriculture, wildlife ranges for terrestrial and marine plants and animals, and global shoreline flooding because of increases in sea level caused by melting ice...

'Climate change is not something that's going to happen -- it is happening all over the Arctic,' Palsson said. 'The Arctic is sort of a bellwether' for the rest of the earth...

The Bush administration has consistently resisted calls for mandatory curbs on carbon dioxide emissions, saying that it would cost too many American jobs. A coalition headed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) is pushing legislation that would establish a pollution trading system aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, but it lacks the votes for passage."

Full story here.


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