Friday, November 16, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

New York Times:
In its final and most powerful report, a United Nations panel of scientists meeting here describes the mounting risks of climate change in language that is both more specific and forceful than its previous assessments, according to scientists here.

Synthesizing reams of data from its three previous reports, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the first time specifically points out important risks if governments fail to respond: melting ice sheets that could lead to a rapid rise in sea levels and the extinction of large numbers of species brought about by even moderate amounts of warming, on the order of 1 to 3 degrees.

The report carries heightened significance because it is the last word from the influential global climate panel before world leaders meet in Bali, Indonesia, next month to begin to discuss a global climate change treaty that will replace the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012. It is also the first report from the panel since it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October — an honor that many scientists here said emboldened them to stand more forcefully behind their positions.

As a sign of the deepening urgency surrounding the climate change issue, the report, which was being printed Friday night, will be officially released by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday.
The government department spearheading the fight against climate change is planning an emergency package of at least £300m of cuts covering key environmental services, the Guardian has learned.

Frontline agencies tackling recycling, nature protection, energy saving, carbon emissions and safeguarding the environment are all being targeted in the package which is being drawn up by Helen Ghosh, the top civil servant at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Details of the cuts have emerged just as the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due to publish its latest report. The study, to be made public today ahead of a UN climate meeting in Bali, will warn that all forms of carbon pollution from flights to inefficient light bulbs must become more expensive if the world is to avert catastrophic effects of warming.

The disclosure of the Defra cuts plan will embarrass Gordon Brown, who is expected next week to give a major speech on climate change, recommitting Britain to supplying a fifth of its energy requirements from renewables by 2020. Previously government officials had said Britain would struggle to meet the target and lobbied to be allowed to use different statistics.

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