Global Warming Worse Than Predicted - US Scientist
Feb 16, 2009 - Reuters
CHICAGO - The climate is heating up far faster than
scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases
in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries
like China and India, a top climate scientist said
|A general view shows
chimneys from a cement plant in Baokang, Hubei
province. Jan 6, 2008. Photo: Stringer
"The consequence of that is we are basically looking
now at a future climate that is beyond anything that
we've considered seriously," Chris Field, a member
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
or IPCC, told the American Association for the Advancement
of Science meeting in Chicago.
Field said "the actual trajectory of climate change
is more serious" than any of the climate predictions
in the IPCC's fourth assessment report called "Climate
He said recent climate studies suggested the continued
warming of the planet from greenhouse gas emissions
could touch off large, destructive wildfires in tropical
rain forests and melt permafrost in the Arctic tundra,
releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gasses that
could raise global temperatures even more.
"There is a real risk that human-caused climate change
will accelerate the release of carbon dioxide from
forest and tundra ecosystems, which have been storing
a lot of carbon for thousands of years," Field, of
Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for
Science, said in a statement.
He pointed to recent studies showing the fourth assessment
report underestimated the potential severity of global
warming over the next 100 years.
"We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007,
greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly
than we expected, primarily because developing countries,
like China and India, saw a huge surge in electric
power generation, almost all of it based on coal,"
He said that trend was likely to continue if more
countries turned to coal and other carbon-intensive
fuels to meet their energy needs. If so, he said the
impact of climate change would be "more serious and
diverse" than the IPCC's most recent predictions.
(Editing by Peter Cooney)
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