Alarm bells

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

-- (Credit: SHYAMAL)A group of 1,700 leading scientists called on the us government to take the lead in fighting global warming. The letter, issued by the non-profit, Union of Concerned Scientists, warns: "If emissions continue unabated, the world will face more sea level rise, heatwaves, droughts, snowmelt, and public health threats, as well as increased rates of species extinctions."

The scientists, including six Nobel Prize winnners, call on the government to "put our nation on to a path to reduce emissions on the order of 80 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050." As a first step, they call for a 15-20 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020.

Another group of climate scientists warned that a "false optimism" has infused international climate talks, saying that politicians should deliver "stringent emissions cuts" or risk profound consequences for the planet. "A curious optimism...pervades...the G8 and un climate meetings", they write in the May 30 issue of Nature Reports Climate Change--an online resource of the magazine, Nature. The authors are part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but stress in this paper they do not represent the panel.

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