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U.N. panel gives stark warning of climate change

Wed., Aug. 27, 2014

WASHINGTON – Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous – and it’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the Nobel Prize-winning group. There is little in the report that wasn’t in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.

The 127-page draft, obtained by the Associated Press, paints a harsh warning of what’s causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment. It also describes what can be done about it.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” the report says. The final report will be issued after governments and scientists go over the draft in an October conference in Copenhagen.

Depending on circumstances and values, “currently observed impacts might already be considered dangerous,” the report says. It mentions extreme weather and rising sea levels, such as heat waves, flooding and droughts.

Without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, “climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century,” the report says.