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Experts to Prepare Global Warming Report


If there's one document on global warming policymakers might put in their briefcase, this would be it. On Monday, scientists and government officials gather in Valencia, Spain to put together the fourth and last U.N. report on the state of global warming and what it will mean to hundreds of millions of people whose lives are being dramatically altered.

Unlike the past three tomes, this one will have little new data. Instead, it will distill the previous work into a compact guide of roughly 30 pages that summarizes complex science into language politicians and bureaucrats can understand.

It will be the first point of reference for negotiators meeting next month in Bali, Indonesia, to decide the future course of the worldwide push to curb greenhouse gas emissions after the 2012 expiration of the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, the landmark agreement that assigned binding reduction targets to 36 countries.

The last of four reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "integrates all the elements, the connections between them," said one of its authors, Bert Metz, of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

U.N. officials delayed the Bali meeting by several months until after the report is released, expecting it would add political momentum to the conference.

Though the IPCC was created in 1988 to assess the science of global warming, its work gathered a momentum this year that has helped reshape opinion in the public and governments.

In the ultimate validation, the IPCC's warnings of man-induced climate change shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore, the world's best-known global warming campaigner.

"The reactions that I heard from politicians around the world is that they were shocked by the reports and that they should be acted on," said Yvo de Boer, the U.N.'s top climate official.

The United States, Australia and many developing countries that shunned the Kyoto treaty are now ready to begin discussing a successor agreement at the Bali conference, De Boer said.

"There is a growing consensus that Bali needs to achieve a breakthrough to put negotiations in place, and that's very encouraging," he said. "But it's not going to be a piece of cake."

The studies issued earlier this year painted a dire picture of a planet in which unabated greenhouse gas emissions could drive average temperatures up as much as 11 degrees by 2100.

Even a 3.6-degree rise could subject up to 2 billion people to water shortages by 2050 and threaten extinction for 20 percent to 30 percent of the world's species, the IPCC said.

While some people will go thirsty from lack of rain, millions more will suffer devastating floods; diseases will proliferate; the food supply may at first increase in some areas, but will plummet later; countries that are now poor will grow still poorer.

The scientists set out a basket of technological options to keep the temperature rise to the minimum, with investments amounting to about 3 percent of the world's gross domestic product — far less than what the IPCC said it would cost later to fix the damage caused by higher temperature increases.

Campaigners are looking for the final "synthesis report" to emphasize the action governments can take, the consequences of inaction and the brief time remaining to put that action into gear.

"We would want to emphasize the urgency which comes from the science," said Stephanie Tunmore of the Greenpeace environmental group. "We know what's happening, we know what's causing it, and we know what we have to do about it."

A draft report of about 60 pages — distilling the previous three reports totaling more than 4,000 pages — has been circulating for months to governments, environmentalists and scientists for comment. The authors gathered in Valencia last week to incorporate some of the comments into the final draft.

Starting Monday, delegations from 145 countries meeting in this Spanish Mediterranean city will review the Summary for Policymakers, the critical document that becomes the single most important reference for nonscientists.

Each line must be adopted by consensus — and sometimes the use of a single word can be heatedly contested.

The final document is due to be released Saturday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's presence at the unveiling is meant to underscore its importance.

"I expect some scuffling over the final language," especially over the urgency and the level of certainty of some predicted events, said Peter Altman, of the Washington-based lobby National Environmental Trust.

Despite the haggling, the political input into a scientific document is essential, because governments cannot later disown it.

"After the summary is approved, it becomes the property of the governments," said Metz, who was one of about 40 scientists working on the final draft. "It becomes difficult for them to ignore the conclusions that they were subscribing to."

The Associated Press

Entry #1,251


JAP69Comment by JAP69 - November 11, 2007, 1:11 pm
It's all bunk.
The earth has been in constant change since the beginning.
konaneComment by konane - November 11, 2007, 1:32 pm
"Proliferation of Climate Scepticism in Europe

".......... Both 'An Inconvenient Truth' and the latest IPCC report labour under cherry-picking, spindoctoring and scare-mongering (Al Gore's movie more than the IPCC reports). Awarding the Nobel price for such flawed science is a disgrace. But it should be recalled that the Nobel Prize for Peace is being awarded by a group of (five) Norwegian politicians and not by the Swedish Academy of Science, which is always scrupulously investigating the merits of the candidates. ..........."

justxploringComment by justxploring - November 11, 2007, 2:44 pm
I agree with JAP69 about 50%. Yes, it's true that our planet has always been changing, but it's been changing considerably faster since the invention of cars and other contributors to CO2 emissions. Since the mid 1800s, these emissions have increased more than 1,000%.

The whole thing that irritates me about all the hype, however, is what do they expect the average American to do about it? For years I complained about my noisy refrigerator. I had no idea it was costing me about $15 more a month in electricity until my landlord finally agreed to replace it. Now, if I owned this place, I guess I could have gone out and & purchased a new, energy efficient model, but how many people can afford to do this just because the world is getting a little warmer? As soon as my dollar store starts carrying the screw-in compact flourescents at 4 for a buck like the bulbs I use now, I will be happy to replace "all" of the (2) bulbs I burn at night. I admit I'm a bit disappointed with the mileage I get with my Camry (or maybe it's just the shock of that $45 fill up) so as soon as the government sends an official letter allowing me to make an even trade for the new hybrid, I'll be the first in line at the Toyota dealer. Until then, I've got about 50 more payments to make.

Maybe I'm not really average, because I don't have 2.5 kids. I usually have 1 or 2 bags of trash every Tues. That's about 20 less than small businesses I've worked in that empty several wastebaskets a day filled with paper. What about the cups at the water cooler or the coffee machine? Anyway, 1/2 of my trash can is filled with crap I didn't want in the first place. So let's pass a law fining those who send us junk mail & catalogs we didn't request in the first place!!

I've been campaigning for a cleaner environment for as long as I can remember. I've joked that litterers should be shot on sight. I don't have a dishwasher (I'm the dishwasher lol) and I do a load or 2 of laundry about twice a month. (don't cringe...I bought more underwear and towels. :-)

So until the thousands of luxury golf communities stop running their irrigation systems all night, I won't skip my morning shower or even jump out until I'm darn ready.   I have a deal - if Al & Tipper move out of their gigantic, utility guzzling mansion, the many thousands of people with in-ground swimming pools start using the public pool in their communities, and the corporate executives & politicians give up their private jets and start using the subway or share a cab, I'll use my computer a little less, skip a few of my favorite tv programs, and flush less often. :-)

JADELotteryComment by JADELottery - November 11, 2007, 6:06 pm
You humans are ridiculous. From our view, you look like a bunch adolescents arguing over who spilt the milk; pointing at each other saying, "No YOU did it!", "No You did it!" Meanwhile, the container and its contents are still a mess all over the place. Until... until Mother Earth shows up and says, "I have had enough of this! Ok, Johnny Republican, take your little war toys and monopoly game and go up to your room. Janie Democrat, go finish your homework on the environment up in your room and don't forget your little models and theories, also." The both of them now grumbling back and forth as they head upstairs, "See what'd I tell you.", "No, you did it, you wouldn't let me play with my stuff.", "No, your just a big jerk, always wrecking things and messing up my work." Mother turns back and says as they stomp the floor going to each others room, "Don't make me come up there!".... SLAM, SLAM, as the doors shut.
You'll find out soon enough, none of you are in control... SHE is, just keep on doing what you are doing and you'll find out.

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