Saturday, May 5, 2007

'Time is running out'

From nuclear power to reforestation to better toasters, the world now has a game plan from climate experts for fighting global warming, a report their chief scientist says will have a ''profound influence'' on coming negotiations.
American officials questioned the economic cost, and the Chinese questioned whether fast results could be achieved. But a leading expert said there was little choice.
''If we continue doing what we are doing now, we are in deep trouble,'' said Ogunlade Davidson, co-chairman of the U.N.-sponsored group that produced the report, approved by consensus by more than 120 nations Friday at the end of a weeklong meeting.
A summary said the world must significantly cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by sharply improving energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles and even kitchen appliances; shifting from fossil fuels to nuclear, wind, solar and other renewable energy sources; saving forests as ''carbon sinks,'' and capping agricultural emissions. The document says the world has the technology and wealth to act in time to avoid a sharp rise in temperatures.
The assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change builds on reports by two other IPCC working groups issued earlier this year. The Working Group III study looks in detail at the most promising technologies for reining in the heat-trapping gases and at policies, such as taxes or quotas on carbon emissions, that might encourage development of the technologies. It also looks at how much that might cost economies.
It estimates the world must stabilize the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2015 at 445 parts per million to keep global temperatures from rising 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Scientists fear temperatures higher than that might cause severe damage. Current atmospheric concentrations are thought to have passed 400 parts per million.
''Time is running out,'' said Olav Hohmeyer, a German delegate.
Global talks resume in December.


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