Earth Is Heating Up Fast, Report Warns

Article excerpt

Global warming has begun, says a new U.N. scientific report, which warns that the phenomenon could shape the future of nations and change Americans' daily lives.

The study was written by scientists and policymakers from 75 countries and was made public in Madrid on Thursday. The report offers the collective wisdom of 2,500 climate experts from around the world.

The authors declared that human activities were contributing to global warming and that governments would have to make big changes if they hoped to bring the climate back into balance by our great-great-grandchildren's era.

The Earth is heating up faster than it has at any time in the last 10,000 years, according to the report from the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Panel members said scientific advances over the last five years have made the culprit increasingly clear: Atmospheric changes that "can be attributed largely to human activities, mostly fossil fuel use, land use change and agriculture."

The panel members predicted that the climate could be stabilized only if greenhouse gas emissions were brought substantially below what they were in 1990 - a target that is already slipping out of slight as carbon dioxide emissions climb.

The conclusions were reached after three days' of negotiations.

But none of the 200 negotiators mentioned that Americans' on-again, off-again love affair with the gas-guzzling automobile might need to be broken off once and for all. …