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NASA Scientist Urges Action on Warming

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    NASA Scientist Urges Action on Warming Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:24 PM CST Tom Gardner, AP Writer MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. — The effects of global warming are being
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2007
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      NASA Scientist Urges Action on Warming
      Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:24 PM CST
      Tom Gardner, AP Writer

      MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. � The effects of global warming are being felt
      around the world and unless international efforts are launched within
      the next 10 years species will disappear and the earth will be a
      vastly less habitable planet by the end of the century, according to
      NASA scientist James E. Hansen.

      "Global warming is already starting, and there's going to be more of
      it. I think there is still time to deal with global warming, but we
      need to act soon. Humans now control global climate, for better or
      worse," Hansen said Tuesday at an annual gathering of meteorologists.

      Hansen, who came under fire from the White House after a December 2005
      lecture in which he called for prompt reductions in greenhouse gas
      emissions to slow global warming, delivered his keynote speech by
      satellite at the 14th annual Operation Sierra Storm meeting at Mammoth
      Mountain Ski Area. Global warming is the theme of the conference.

      Hansen, who said he was not speaking for NASA, said that after the
      warming of the past three decades, the world is within 1 degree
      Celsius of its warmest period in the past 400,000 years. He predicted
      that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the same rate, the
      warming this century will approach 3 degrees Celsius, or about 5
      degrees Fahrenheit.

      He forecast that such a change would eliminate up to half the species
      on earth and would melt polar ice caps. Subsequently rising ocean
      levels would inundate Florida, most of Louisiana and much of the East
      Coast, Hansen said.

      "We don't know how long it would take for that to happen," he said.

      He said warning signs are appearing in Greenland where ice is melting
      twice as fast as it was five years ago. Ocean levels globally are
      edging up about 3.5 millimeters a year.

      Hansen said samples of the Antarctic ice cap spanning 400,000 years
      show almost parallel changes in temperatures and greenhouse gasses �
      primarily carbon dioxide and methane that until now were produced by
      natural changes in the earth.

      "The amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is now completely
      under the control of humans," he said. "Another Ice Age cannot occur
      unless humans become extinct."

      Critical to the reduction of greenhouse gasses is international
      agreement to curtail the use of fossil fuels � the primary source of
      carbon dioxide and other pollutants, he said.

      Hansen's call came one day after the chief of the United Nations'
      effort against climate change said that despite widespread recognition
      of the seriousness of global warming, a lack of leadership has created
      a sense of helplessness.

      Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on
      Climate Change, told The Associated Press during a visit to Paris that
      he will ask the new U.N. secretary-general to coordinate a worldwide
      response and organize a conference of world leaders.

      Such a meeting would be a first step toward a post-Kyoto agreement on
      climate change, he said. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol requires 35
      industrial nations to cut production of globe-warming greenhouse gases
      by an average 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, when the accord

      In his speech, Hansen urged development of more efficient technologies
      to sharply reduce carbon emissions, use of coal only in power plants
      that scrub the emissions and a gradual increase in taxes on fossil
      fuels to discourage use.

      He touched only briefly on his dealings with the Bush administration,
      saying that scientists have ethical responsibilities much the same as
      doctors have to their patients.

      The Commerce Department and NASA launched an investigation in November
      into whether the administration tried to prevent government scientists
      from speaking freely about climate change.


      On the Web:

      Operation Sierra Storm: http://www.operationsierrastorm.com

      Dr. James E. Hansen: http://www.columbia.edu/(tilde)jeh1
      � 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
      not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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