Click the Globe to View Four Regions Most Affected by Climate ChangePhoto: The Earth, pieced together from satellite images: Along the East Coast of the United States, this picture shows Hurricane "Andrew," which wrought devastation in the US in 1992. The United Nations predicts that the intensity of hurricanes and other storms will increase as a result of global warming.
March 02, 2007
Is the world's weather already out of control? Global climate change is happening faster than previously believed and its impact is worse than expected, information from an as-yet unpublished draft of the long-awaited second part of a United Nations report reveals. No region of the planet will be spared and some will be hit especially hard. The main conclusion of the report is that climate change is already having a profound effect on all the continents and on many of the Earth's ecosystems. The draft presents a long list of evidence. Some 20 to 30 percent of all species face a "high risk of extinction" should average global temperatures rise another 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius from their 1990 levels. That could happen by 2050, the report warns. Mankind will not escape these changes unscathed. Rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere will at first help the plant world. Vegetation growth will be stronger and the planet will become greener. The absorption of CO2 by plant life will to a certain extent work against climate change, but not forever. (The second part of the report is to be presented in April after final discussions with government representatives from around the globe. The third part of the IPCC report is expected to be released in May. The climate panel will demand radical changes and massive investment against global warming. Some $16 billion will be required by 2030 and humanity only has until 2020 to turn back the trend. Whether the summary for policymakers will be released in its current form is unclear. Delegates from several countries wrestled with the wording of the first part of the report up until the last minute before its publication.)