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Clean Air Policies Contributing To Carbon Heat Build Up

The chief culprit of global warming, paradoxically, has been the progressive filtering of tiny, sun-blocking particles of sulfates from the burning of fuels as part of efforts to protect the environment.
 Washington (AFP) Oct. 26, 2000
A 1,000-page study on climate change by hundreds of scientists from around the world confirms that human activity is the chief cause of global warming, The New York Times said Thursday.

Greenhouse gases produced mainly from burning fossil fuels are changing the earth's climate and have "contributed substantially to the observed warming over the last 50 years," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.

Described as the closest thing to a consensus possible in science, the study sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations increased its 1995 estimate on the upper range of warming over the next 100 years from 3.5 degrees to 6.1 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees to 11 degrees Fahrenheit).

The chief culprit, paradoxically, has been the progressive filtering of tiny, sun-blocking particles of sulfates from the burning of fuels as part of efforts to protect the environment.

These particles in the past counteracted greenhouse gases and helped to dampen the warming effect.

A review of the study, which will be completed for a meeting in January in Shanghai, was distributed this week to governments around the world for comments, and will likely be discussed next month at an international gathering in The Hague to work out the details of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty aiming to cut greenhouse gases.

The Times said it obtained a copy of the summary from "someone who was eager to have the findings disseminated before the meetings in The Hague."

Panel members said in the summary and in interviews that the increased warming has shown up in retreating glaciers, thinning polar sea ice, retreating snow packs, warmer nights, and elsewhere.

"More and more people working in atmospheric science or on climate or ecology have had to come to grips with the fact that climate change is affecting what they're looking at," said Kevin Trenberth, who heads the climate analysis division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, and a lead author of the panel's summary.

The panel issued two previous assessments of their research into global warming in 1995 and 1990.

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Will We Be Swamped by Rising Seas
Paris - Oct. 25, 2000
Could some countries vanish beneath rising seas? Are melting icecaps responsible for ever-higher sea levels? And above all, are these changes man-made, and preventable, or part of a natural cycle? These are the questions that could soon be answered by scientists using data from ESA's ERS-1 and 2 and Envisat satellites.



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