06 December 2007

Wanted: Deep Cuts

Cut emissions 50%: scientists

Leading scientists, including several from Canada, are urging the international climate summit to commit to deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. "There is no time to lose," says the Bali Declaration by Scientists, to be released today at the United Nations climate conference where delegates from almost 200 countries are meeting to hammer out an international framework for reducing emissions. The scientists are calling for cuts of at least 50% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to try to keep the rise in the global temperature below 2 C. While 2 C does not sound like much, researchers say warming above that threshold would be enough to trigger mass species extinctions and accelerate melting of polar ice sheets, which could lead to a seven-metre rise in sea level in coming centuries. The declaration says humanity has a "window" of as little as 10 years to turn the situation around. Meantime, emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities continue to rise quickly and the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere "now far exceeds the natural range of the past 650,000 years." The declaration says, "If this trend is not halted soon, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species in serious danger of extinction."
(Calgary Herald 071206)

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