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Act on climate change, top scientists warn U.S.


A group of 1,700 leading scientists called on the U.S. government Friday to take the lead in fighting global warming. Citing the "UNPRECEDENTED and unanticipated" effects of global warming, the scientists presented a letter calling for an immediate reduction in U.S. carbon emissions. The statement came as the Senate prepares to debate a bill next week that would impose economy-wide limits on greenhouse emissions to avert what it describes as "catastrophic climate change". The White House joined in the chorus of gloom when it issued a long-delayed report bringing together research into global warming. The report was issued after environmental groups won a court order last year enforcing a statute that obliges the government to produce an assessment of global warming every four years. Described as a "litany of bad news in store for the U.S.", the report catalogues threats from drought, natural disaster, insect infestation and energy shortages. The scientists call on the government to "put our nation on to a path today to reduce emissions on the order of 80% below 2000 levels by 2050...There is no time to waste. The most risky thing we can do is nothing." Another group of climate scientists warned that a "false optimism" has infused international climate talks. The scientists said the world has lost 10 years talking about climate change when it should have acted. The scientists say that even the most politically feasible target, of a 50% global reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 from the levels of 1990, would still entail "major global impacts".


A record number of tornadoes has ripped through the Midwest this year. In recent years we have already witnessed a greater number of high-intensity hurricanes. Water levels in the reservoirs of the West are so low that water managers are trying to figure how to keep water flowing to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles. Forest fires and insect outbreaks are more frequent. A warmer climate speeds the maturation of crops, such as grain and oil seeds, and the crops are more susceptible to failure. 800 scientific studies have examined the effects of global warming on 1,598 animal species and nearly 60% have already been affected. Climate change is not something happening in the future. It is happening now. Even the Bush administration, which did its best to delay action, now admits as much.
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