Friday, April 6, 2007

IPCC issues a dire warning on the climate as the U.S and Chinese governments object

As reported by the AP: the latest IPCC report on the Earth's climate is dire, despite objections by several major governments, which stripped language and charts from the final document.
Panel: Global Warming a Threat to Earth

The world faces increased hunger and water shortages in the poorest countries, massive floods and avalanches in Asia, and species extinction unless nations adapt to climate change and halt its progress, according to a report approved Friday by an international conference on global warming.

Agreement came after an all-night session during which key sections were deleted from the draft and scientists angrily confronted government negotiators who they feared were watering down their findings.

Several scientists objected to the editing of the final draft by government negotiators but, in the end, agreed to compromises. However, some scientists vowed never to take part in the process again.

Five days of negotiations reached a climax when the delegates removed parts of a key chart highlighting devastating effects of climate change that kick in with every rise of 1.8 degrees, and in a tussle over the level of scientific reliability attached to key statements.

There was little doubt about the science, which was based on 29,000 sets of data, much of it collected in the last five years. "For the first time we are not just arm-waving with models," Martin Perry, who conducted the grueling negotiations, told reporters.

The United States, China and Saudi Arabia raised many of the objections to the phrasing, often seeking to tone down the certainty of some of the more dire projections.
Key findings: areas subject to droughts are likely to become even drier, areas subject to floods are likely to become wetter. Those in the poorest nations will be hit the hardest, with water shortages and famines likely to strike Africa, in particular. North America will be subject to fiercer storms and more frequent wildfires. Water shortages in the Southwest will become even more serious - a particular cause for concern in large cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Expect skeptics to focus on the ironic detail that North American and Russian crop yields may go up in the short term due to the longer growing seasons.

More at Science Blog

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