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  • Doug Salzmann
    Why Antarctica Will Soon Be the Only Place to Live - Literally By GEOFFREY LEAN
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2004
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      <http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=517321>

      Why Antarctica Will Soon Be the Only Place to Live - Literally

      By GEOFFREY LEAN
      Environment Editor
      The Independent (U.K.)

      Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the
      end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the British
      Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last
      week.

      He said the Earth was entering the "first hot period" for 60 million
      years, when there was no ice on the planet and "the rest of the globe
      could not sustain human life". The warning - one of the starkest
      delivered by a top scientist - comes as ministers decide next week
      whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate
      change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as
      "very, very critical indeed".

      The Prime Minister - who was launching a new alliance of governments,
      businesses and pressure groups to tackle global warming - added that
      he could not think of "any bigger long-term question facing the world
      community".

      Yet the Government is considering relaxing limits on emissions by
      industry under an EU scheme on Tuesday.

      Sir David said that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - the
      main "green- house gas" causing climate change - were already 50 per
      cent higher than at any time in the past 420,000 years. The last time
      they were at this level - 379 parts per million - was 60 million years
      ago during a rapid period of global warming, he said. Levels soared to
      1,000 parts per million, causing a massive reduction of life.

      "No ice was left on Earth. Antarctica was the best place for mammals
      to live, and the rest of the world would not sustain human life," he
      said.

      Sir David warned that if the world did not curb its burning of fossil
      fuels "we will reach that level by 2100".
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