from: _http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=d5c3c93f-802a-23ad-4f29-fe59494b48a6&Issue_idGlobal Carbon Tax Urged at UN Climate Conference
BALI, Indonesia – A global tax on carbon dioxide emissions was urged to help save the Earth from catastrophic man-made global warming at the United Nations climate conference. A panel of UN participants on Thursday urged the adoption of a tax that would represent “a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations.”
“Finally someone will pay for these [climate related] costs,” Othmar Schwank, a global tax advocate, told Inhofe EPW Press Blog following the panel discussion titled “A Global CO2 Tax.” Schwank is a consultant with the Switzerland based Mauch Consulting firm
Schwank said at least “$10-$40 billion dollars per year” could be generated by the tax, and wealthy nations like the U.S. would bear the biggest burden based on the “polluters pay principle.”
The U.S. and other wealthy nations need to “contribute significantly more to this global fund,” Schwank explained. He also added, “It is very essential to tax coal.”
The UN was presented with a new report from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment titled “Global Solidarity in Financing Adaptation.” The report stated there was an “urgent need” for a global tax in order for “damages [from climate change] to be kept from growing to truly catastrophic levels, especially in vulnerable countries of the developing world.”
The tens of billions of dollars per year generated by a global tax would “flow into a global Multilateral Adaptation Fund” to help nations cope with global warming, according to the report.
Schwank said a global carbon dioxide tax is an idea long overdue that is urgently needed to establish “a funding scheme which generates the resources required to address the dimension of challenge with regard to climate change costs.”
'Diminish future prosperity'
However, ideas like a global tax and the overall UN climate agenda met strong opposition Thursday from a team of over 100 prominent international scientists who warned the UN that attempting to control the Earth's climate was "ultimately futile."
The scientists wrote, “The IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions." The scientists, many of whom are current or former members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sent the December 13 letter to the UN Secretary-General. (See: Over 100 Prominent Scientists Warn UN Against 'Futile' Climate Control Efforts – LINK)
‘Redistribution of wealth’
The environmental group Friends of the Earth, in attendance in Bali, also advocated the transfer of money from rich to poor nations on Wednesday.
“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth. (LINK)
Calls for global regulations and taxes are not new at the UN. Former Vice President Al Gore, who arrived Thursday at the Bali conference, reiterated this week his call to place a price on carbon dioxide emissions. (LINK)
In 2000, then French President Jacques Chirac said the UN’s Kyoto Protocol represented "the first component of an authentic global governance." Former EU Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said, "Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide." Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper once dismissed Kyoto as a “socialist scheme.” (LINK)
'A bureaucrat's dream'
MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen warned about these types of carbon regulations earlier this year. "Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life," Lindzen said in March 2007. (LINK)
In addition, many critics have often charged that proposed tax and regulatory “solutions” were more important to the promoters of man-made climate fears than the accuracy of their science.
Former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth reportedly said in 1990, "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing — in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."
Steven Goddard said:Is the earth getting warmer, or cooler?
A tale of two thermometers
Published Friday 2nd May 2008 10:02 GMT
See what the experts have to say on attracting, retaining and developing IT talent
Analysis A paper published in scientific journal Nature this week has reignited the debate about Global Warming, by predicting that the earth won't be getting any warmer until 2015. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences have factored in cyclical oceanic into their climate model, and produced a different forecast to the "consensus" models which don't.
But how will we know whether the earth is warming or cooling? Today, it all depends on the data source.
Two authorities provide us with analysis of long-term surface temperature trends. Both agree on the global temperature trend until 1998, at which time a sharp divergence occurred. The UK Meteorological Office's Hadley Center for Climate Studies Had-Crut data shows worldwide temperatures declining since 1998. According to Hadley's data, the earth is not much warmer now than it was than it was in 1878 or 1941.
Hadley's data (April 13, 2008)
By contrast, NASA data shows worldwide temperatures increasing at a record pace - and nearly a full degree warmer than 1880.
NASA's data (April 13, 2008)
The other two widely used global temperature data sources are from earth-orbiting satellites UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) and RSS (Remote Sensing Systems.) Both show decreasing temperatures over the last decade, with present temperatures barely above the 30 year average.
Anomalies 1998-2008; University of Alabama (UAH)
Anomalies 1998-2008; Remote Sensing Systems (RSS)
Confusing? How can scientists who report measurements of the earth's temperature within one one-hundredth of a degree be unable to concur if the temperature is going up or down over a ten year period? Something appears to be inconsistent with the NASA data - but what is it?
One clue we can see is that NASA has been reworking recent temperatures upwards and older temperatures downwards - which creates a greater slope and the appearance of warming. Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre has been tracking the changes closely on his Climate Audit site, and reports that NASA is Rewriting History, Time and Time Again. The recent changes can be seen by comparing the NASA 1999 and 2007 US temperature graphs. Below is the 1999 version, and below that is the reworked 2007 version.
NASA's original data: 1999
NASA's reworked data: 2007
In order to visualize the changes, I overlaid the 2007 version on top of the 1999 version, above, and a clear pattern emerged. The pre-1970 temperatures have been nearly uniformly adjusted downwards (red below green) - and the post 1970 temperatures have been adjusted upwards (red above green.) Some of the yearly temperatures have been adjusted by as much as 0.5 degrees. That is a huge total change for a country the size of the US with thousands of separate temperature records.
How could it be determined that so many thermometers were wrong by an average of 0.5 degrees in one particular year several decades ago, and an accurate retrofit be made? Why is the adjustment 0.5 degrees one year, and 0.1 degrees the next?
Describing this more succinctly, the 2007 version of the data appears to have been sheared vertically across 1970 to create the appearance of a warming trend. We can approximate shear by applying a small rotation, so I tried "un-rotating" the 2007 graph clockwise around 1970 until I got a reasonably good visual fit at six degrees.
What could be the motivation for the recent changes?
Further examination of the NASA site might give us a clue as to what is happening.
NASA staff have done some recent bookkeeping and refined the data from 1930-1999. The issues has been discussed extensively at science blog Climate Audit. So what is the probability of this effort consistently increasing recent temperatures and decreasing older temperatures? From a statistical viewpoint, data recalculation should cause each year to have a 50/50 probability of going either up or down - thus the odds of all 70 adjusted years working in concert to increase the slope of the graph (as seen in the combined version) are an astronomical 2 raised to the power of 70. That is one-thousand-billion-billion to one. This isn't an exact representation of the odds because for some of the years (less than 15) the revisions went against the trend - but even a 55/15 split is about as likely as a room full of chimpanzees eventually typing Hamlet. That would be equivalent to flipping a penny 70 times and having it come up heads 55 times. It will never happen - one trillion to one odds (2 raised to the power 40.)
Particularly troubling are the years from 1986-1998. In the 2007 version of the graph, the 1986 data was adjusted upwards by 0.4 degrees relative to the 1999 graph. In fact, every year except one from 1986-1998 was adjusted upwards, by an average of 0.2 degrees. If someone wanted to present a case for a lot of recent warming, adjusting data upwards would be an excellent way to do it.
Looking at the NASA website, we can see that the person in charge of the temperature data is the eminent Dr. James Hansen - Al Gore's science advisor and the world's leading long-term advocate of global warming.
NASA and Had-Crut data are largely based on surface measurements, using thermometers. They both face a lot of difficulties due to contaminated data caused by urban heating effects, disproportionate concentration of thermometers in urban areas, changes in thermometer types over time, changes in station locations, loss of stations, changes in the time of day when thermometers are read, and yet more factors.
NASA has a very small number of long-term stations in the Arctic, and even fewer in Africa and South America. The data has been systematically adjusted upwards in recent years - as can be seen in this graph, reproduced below. Temperatures from the years 1990 to present have more than one-half degree Fahrenheit artificially added on to them - which may account for most of the upwards trend in the NASA temperature set.
Official difference between the publicly reported temperature and the original data from USHCN/NASA - click to enlarge
Satellite temperature data (UAH and RSS) is more reliable because it covers the entire earth - with the exception of small regions near the north and south poles. They use the same methodology from year to year, and the two sources tend to agree fairly closely. The downside of satellite data is that it only goes back to 1978.
Now back to the present.
NASA temperatures for March 2008 indicate that it was the third warmest March in history, but satellite data sources RSS and UAH disagree. They show March as the second coldest ever in the southern hemisphere, and barely above average worldwide. (The northern hemisphere in March was split between a cold North America and a very warm Asia, causing temperatures in the northern hemisphere to be above average.) Data so far for April shows both hemispheres back on the decline, and April is shaping up to be an unusually cool month across most of the globe (Africa, South America, North America and portions of Europe and Asia).
Both of the satellite data sources, as well as Had-Crut, show worldwide temperatures falling below the IPCC estimates. Satellite data shows temperatures near or below the 30 year average - but NASA data has somehow managed to stay on track towards climate Armageddon. You can draw your own conclusions, but I see a pattern that is troublesome. In science, as with any other endeavour, it is always a good idea to have some separation between the people generating the data and the people interpreting it.
Some good news moving forward was reported this week by Anthony Watts, who blogs at Watt's Up With That? USHCN has issued a press release indicating that they are upgrading their methodology and ending the practice of adjusting data upwards for future temperature readings. This will make the data more credible, though will not resolve the issues associated with growing urban heat islands or a lack of spatial coverage across the planet.
Bear in mind that warming and cooling concerns are nothing new, as this alarming bulletin reminds us -
The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
A RealClimate blogger? No, that was the US Weather Bureau in 1922.
We saw a global cooling scare in 1924, a global warming scare in 1933, another global cooling in the early 1970s, and another warming scare today. The changes the USHCN promised Watts won't help resolve anything for another decade or so, but perhaps future generations will be able to reduce the alarming increase in the number of climate alarms.®
I can believe that last March was the second-coldest ever in the Southern Hemisphere. In my general area, record-low minimum temperatures were recorded at many stations at the end of March. And although many areas in southern Australia had the hottest or near hottest March on record, in my state (much larger in area than those experiencing record heat), it was an unusually cool month. And at the end of April, some areas near me received frosts that have never recorded frosts in April before. Last year in June, many tropical places experienced their coldest June on record. There was one town called Mt Isa, in the tropics, with an average June maximum of around 25 degrees Celsius, which had one day where the temperature did not rise above 9 degrees C. This phenomenon was repeated over and over in countless locations.NASA said:NASA temperatures for March 2008 indicate that it was the third warmest March in history, but satellite data sources RSS and UAH disagree. They show March as the second coldest ever in the southern hemisphere, and barely above average worldwide. (The northern hemisphere in March was split between a cold North America and a very warm Asia, causing temperatures in the northern hemisphere to be above average.) Data so far for April shows both hemispheres back on the decline, and April is shaping up to be an unusually cool month across most of the globe (Africa, South America, North America and portions of Europe and Asia).
_http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/20/D8KSL7R00.htmlClimate Extremes Are Coming, Study Says
By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer Oct 20, 2006
WASHINGTON - The world - especially the Western United States, the Mediterranean region and Brazil - will likely suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts.
But the prediction of a future of nasty extreme weather also includes fewer freezes and a longer growing season.
In a preview of a major international multiyear report on climate change that comes out next year, a study out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research details what nine of the world's top computer models predict for the lurching of climate at its most extreme.
"It's going to be a wild ride, especially for specific regions," said study lead author Claudia Tebaldi, a scientist at the federally funded academic research center.
Tebaldi pointed to the Western U.S., Mediterranean nations and Brazil as "hot spots" that will get extremes at their worst, according to the computer models.
And some places, such as the Pacific Northwest, are predicted to get a strange double whammy of longer dry spells punctuated by heavier rainfall.
As the world warms, there will be more rain likely in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and that will change the air flow for certain areas, much like El Nino weather oscillations now do, said study co-author Gerald Meehl, a top computer modeler at the research center. Those changes will affect the U.S. West, Australia and Brazil, even though it's on South America's eastern coast.
For the Mediterranean, the issue has more to do with rainfall in the tropical Atlantic Ocean changing air currents, he said.
"Extreme events are the kinds of things that have the biggest impacts, not only on humans, but on mammals and ecosystems," Meehl said. The study, to be published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change, "gives us stronger and more compelling evidence that these changes in extremes are more likely."
The researchers took 10 international agreed-upon indices that measure climate extremes _ five that deal with temperature and five with precipitation _ and ran computer models for the world through the year What Tebaldi called the scariest results had to do with heat waves and warm nights. Everything about heat waves _ their intensity, length and occurrence _ worsens.
"The changes are very significant there," Tebaldi said. "It's enough to say we're in for a bad future."
The measurement of warm nights saw the biggest forecast changes. Every part of the globe is predicted to experience a tremendous increase in the number of nights during which the low temperature is extremely high. Those warm night temperatures that should happen only once every decade will likely occur at least every other year by the time we reach 2099, if not more frequently, Tebaldi said.
Warm nights are crucial because Chicago's 1995 heat wave demonstrated that after three straight hot nights, people start dying, Meehl said. However, heat wave deaths are decreasing in the United States because society has learned to adapt better, using air conditioning, noted University of Alabama at Huntsville atmospheric sciences professor John Christy. He is one of a minority of climate scientists who downplay the seriousness of global warming.
Similarly, the days when the temperature drops below freezing will plummet worldwide. That's not necessarily a good thing, because fewer frost days will likely bring dramatic change in wildlife, especially bug infestation, Tebaldi said.
"It's a disruption of the equilibrium that's been going for many centuries," Tebaldi said. But she noted that a lengthier growing season in general is good.
"This notion of the greening of the planet ... generally is a positive benefit," Christy said.
Christy, who did not participate in the study but acknowledges that global warming is real and man-made, said an increase in nighttime low temperatures makes much more sense than the rain-and-drought forecasts of the paper.
One of the larger changes in precipitation predicted is in the intensity of rain and snowfall. That means, Tebaldi said, "when it rains, it rains more" even if it doesn't rain as often.
Tebaldi's assessment jibes with the National Climatic Data Center's tracking of extreme events in the United States, said David Easterling, chief of the center's scientific services. Easterling's group has created a massive climate extreme index that measures the weather in America. Last year, the United States experienced the second most extreme year in 95 years; the worst year was in 1998.
_http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/environment_climate_dc;_ylt=AiKLAu1tIE_fyNGNLmVYn0sDW7oF;_ylu=X3oDMTBhcmljNmVhBHNlYwNtcm5ld3M-Wed, 04 Oct 2006LONDON - Climate campaigners said on Tuesday they expected a British government report on the global costs of climate change to make it clear that major concerted action was needed now.
The full report, an outline of which will be presented by former World Bank chief economist Nick Stern to a closed-door meeting of G8 environment ministers in Mexico later on Tuesday, is expected to be published later this month.
"The central message is that the problem is urgent, we have the technology to start addressing it now, we need to start addressing it now and there is no excuse for delay," Greenpeace climate change campaigner Steve Sawyer told Reuters.
Climate campaigners said Stern's outline report to the third follow-up meeting after the July 2005 G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland was expected to lay out a range of climate scenarios but leave the final choice of action to political leaders.
Despite a remark from British finance minister Gordon Brown last Monday that the report would be published within days, Stern's office has denied he will present the conclusions to the Monterey meeting or that a publication date has been set.
Campaigners based their assessments of the report's content on earlier drafts but have not seen the final version, which they say will make the case for urgent global action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
At its core will be the need for the developed world to help rapidly industrializing nations like China and India develop low carbon economies and help offset the effects of global warming on poorer developing countries in Africa.
Stern's report was expected to outline a range of scenarios of what is likely to happen -- economically and socially -- at various levels of temperature increase, the campaigners said.
Scientists predict that average global temperatures will rise by between two and six degrees celsius (36 and 43 Fahrenheit) over the next century, driven mainly by so-called greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels for power and transport.
"All of our work shows that once you go beyond two degrees warming we are moving from very nasty impacts into uncharted waters," WWF climate change chief Keith Allott said. "You enter into the area of dangerous feedback levels in the climate.
New research from WWF shows that at two degrees between 90 and 200 million more people are at risk from malaria, while over three degrees the figure shoots above 300 million.
Likewise, a two degree rise puts up to 50 million people at risk from rising sea levels due to melting ice caps, while at three degrees the figure surges to 180 million people.
There are similar step change increases in people at risk from increased hunger and disease.
"WWF is extremely hopeful that Sir Nicholas Stern will make a powerful case for urgent and concerted global action to avert dangerous climate change," Allott said.
Stern's presentation comes just days after PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a report stating that it will cost $1 trillion to curb emissions of climate warming gases over the next generation.
Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
Threat to the world is greater than terrorism
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.
Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.
Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.
A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.
One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.
Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.
Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'
Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.
'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.
'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'
Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.
'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'
So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.
The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.
Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'
Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.
_http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/11/15/annan-speech.htmlThere is a "frightening lack of leadership" on climate change and an urgent need for more effort to avoid major consequences, the UN's secretary general told an international meeting Wednesday.
"Climate change is not just an environmental issue, as too many people still believe. It is an all-encompassing threat," Kofi Annan said in Nairobi, Kenya.
Speaking at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Annan said global warming should be tackled on the same scale as war, poverty and the buildup of weapons. "While the Kyoto Protocol is a crucial step forward, that step is far too small. And as we consider how to go further still, there remains a frightening lack of leadership," he said.
Delegates to the 12-day conference, which has attracted 165 countries and ends Friday, are discussing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. The U.S. and Australia are the only major industrialized countries to reject the 1997 Kyoto accord, which calls for mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases.
Annan also announced a UN plan to help Africa get funding for clean development projects, such as wind power and renewable energy.
Canada's environment minister, Rona Ambrose, is expected to speak on Wednesday.
Ambrose has been criticized for the Canadian government's new environmental position - a focus on clean air and smog reduction rather than the wider problem of climate change.
But after arriving on Tuesday, she told reporters there is "no bad guy" on climate change. Delegates from around the world are at the meeting to engage in serious talks, and all efforts should be encouraged, she added.
"They're all here to make progress. It's really important to start talking about inclusivity."
In a news conference on Monday, Canadian opposition parties and environmental groups said the Harper government's position does not reflect the concerns of many Canadians.
Canada and Australia were cited by an environmental group, the Climate Action Network, as having contributed the least to progress during the talks, receiving the group's Fossil of the Day award.
The Harper government's proposed clean air act, introduced in October, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by between 45 and 65 per cent from 2003 levels by 2050.
Under Kyoto, however, Canada agreed to reduce emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated Canada will not likely meet those targets.
The conference is the second meeting of the Kyoto-backed countries, and the first UN climate summit in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a United Nations report on climate change will claim next year.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organisation has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 per cent.
In a final draft of its fourth assessment report, to be published in February, the panel reports that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has accelerated in the past five years. It also predicts that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 C during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.
The panel, however, has lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001.
Climate change sceptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent.
Scientists insist that the lower estimates for sea levels and the human impact on global warming are simply a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming.
One leading UK climate scientist, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity surrounding the report before it is published, said: "The bottom line is that the climate is still warming while our greenhouse gas emissions have accelerated, so we are storing up problems for ourselves in the future."
The IPCC report, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, has been handed to the Government for review before publication.
It warns that carbon dioxide emissions have risen during the past five years by three per cent, well above the 0.4 per cent a year average of the previous two decades. The authors also state that the climate is almost certain to warm by at least 1.5 C during the next 100 years.
Such a rise would be enough to take average summer temperatures in Britain to those seen during the 2003 heatwave, when August temperatures reached a record-breaking 38 C. Unseasonable warmth this year has left many Alpine resorts without snow by the time the ski season started.
Britain can expect more storms of similar ferocity to those that wreaked havoc across the country last week, even bringing a tornado to north-west London.
The IPCC has been forced to halve its predictions for sea-level rise by 2100, one of the key threats from climate change. It says improved data have reduced the upper estimate from 34 in to 17 in.
It also says that the overall human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution is less than had been thought, due to the unexpected levels of cooling caused by aerosol sprays, which reflect heat from the sun.
Large amounts of heat have been absorbed by the oceans, masking the warming effect.
Prof Rick Battarbee, the director of the Environmental Change Research Centre at University College London, warned these masking effects had helped to delay global warming but would lead to larger changes in the future.
He said: "The oceans have been acting like giant storage heaters by trapping heat and carbon dioxide. They might be bit of a time-bomb as they have been masking the real effects of the carbon dioxide we have been releasing into the atmosphere.
"People are very worried about what will happen in 2030 to 2050, as we think that at that point the oceans will no longer be able to absorb the carbon dioxide being emitted. It will be a tipping point and that is why it is now critical to act to counter any acceleration that will occur when this happens."
The report paints a bleak picture for future generations unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. It predicts that the climate will warm by 0.2 C a decade for the next two decades if emissions continue at current levels.
The report states that snow cover in mountainous regions will contract and permafrost in polar regions will decline.
However, Julian Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network, urged governments to be cautious. "There needs to be better data before billions of pounds are spent on policy measures that may have little impact," he said.
_http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=13552290&p=y355z336&n=13552378Human-caused global warming is visible in the air, water and melting ice and destined to get much worse in the future, an authoritative world report will warn.
"The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak," said top US climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who reviewed all 1,600 pages of the first segment of a giant four-part report. "The evidence ... is compelling."
Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist and study co-author, went even further: "This isn't a smoking gun. Climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles."
The first phase of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is being released in Paris next week.
The segment, written by more than 600 scientists and reviewed by another 600 experts and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries, includes "a significantly expanded discussion of observation on the climate", said co-chairman Susan Solomon, a senior scientist for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
She and other scientists held a telephone briefing on the report yesterday.
That report would feature an "explosion of new data" on observations of current global warming, Solomon said.
Solomon and others would not go into specifics about what the report said. They said that the 12-page summary for policymakers would be edited in secret word-by-word by governments' officials for several days next week and released to the public on February 2.
The rest of that first report from scientists will come out months later.
The full report will be issued in four phases over the year, as was the case with the last IPCC report, issued in 2001.
Global warming is "happening now. It's very obvious," said Mahlman, a former director of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. "When you look at the temperature of the Earth, it's pretty much a no-brainer."
Look for an "iconic statement", a simple but strong and unequivocal summary, on how global warming was now occurring, said one of the authors, Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
The February report will have "much stronger evidence now of human actions on the change in climate that's taken place", Rajendra Pachauri said in November. Pachauri, an Indian climatologist, is the head of the international climate change panel.
An early version of the ever-changing draft report said "observations of coherent warming in the global atmosphere, in the ocean, and in snow and ice now provide stronger joint evidence of warming".
The early draft adds: "An increasing body of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on other aspects of climate including sea ice, heat waves and other extremes, circulation, storm tracks and precipitation."
The world's global average temperature has risen about .07 degrees Celsius from 1901 to 2005.
The two warmest years on record for the world were 2005 and 1998. Last year was the hottest year on record for the United States.
The report will draw on already published peer-review science. Some recent scientific studies show that temperatures are the hottest in thousands of years, especially during the last 30 years.
Ice sheets in Greenland in the past couple years have shown a dramatic melting and sea levels are rising and doing so at a faster rate in the past decade.
Also, the second part of the international climate panel's report, to be released in April, will for the first time feature a blockbuster chapter on how global warming is already changing health, species, engineering and food production, says Nasa scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, author of that chapter.
As confident as scientists are about the global warming effects they have already documented, they are as gloomy about the future and even hotter weather and higher sea level rises.
In 2001, the panel said the world's average temperature would increase somewhere between 1.3 and 8.1 degrees Celsius and the sea level would rise between four inches and 35 inches by 2100.
The 2007 report will probably have a smaller range of numbers for both predictions, Pachauri and other scientists say.
NEW DELHI - A forthcoming U.N. report on climate change will provide the most credible evidence yet of a human link to global warming and hopefully shock the world into taking more action, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Thursday.
The IPCC report, due for release on Feb. 2 in Paris, draws on research by 2,500 scientists from more than 130 countries and has taken six years to compile.
"There are a lot of signs and evidence in this report which clearly establish not only the fact that climate change is taking place, but also that it really is human activity that is influencing that change," R.K. Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, told Reuters.
"I hope this report will shock people, governments into taking more serious action as you really can't get a more authentic and a more credible piece of scientific work. So I hope this will be taken for what it's worth."
The IPCC will say it is at least 90 percent sure than human activities, led by the burning of fossil fuels, are to blame for global warming over the past 50 years, sources say.
The new report is likely to foresee a rise in temperatures of 2 to 4.5 Celcius (3.6-8.1 Fahrenheit) this century, with about 3 Celcius (5.4F) most likely.
Pachauri told Reuters in an interview the findings of the report, which is the fourth of its kind, will be "far more serious and much more a matter of concern" than previous reports.
There is more evidence around the world that greenhouse emissions are causing temperature increases, sea level rises, the melting of glaciers, freak weather phenomena and the problems of water availability, said Pachauri.
"For example, the Arctic is clearly melting at faster rates than other regions of the world," he said. "The figures are in the report and it is much faster than what was anticipated."
"The impacts are clearly very serious for some vulnerable parts of the world. Small island states are clearly very vulnerable and parts of South Asia are vulnerable in respect of droughts and floods and also the melting of the glaciers."
Pachauri, also director of India's top environment centre, The Energy and Research Institute, said there was more awareness of climate change around the world today than ever before and applauded Europe and Japan for their efforts.
He said scepticism about the linkages between human activities and climate change was dwindling as more evidence came to light.
"I think the sceptics on climate change will continue, but the good news is that their numbers and their effectiveness is on the decline," Pachauri said.
"The gaps in knowledge will always be there in science but you use your judgement and that's what good policy is all about ... If you take action, the benefit is that you might actually be minimising the harmful impacts of global warming."
_http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=134472007CLIMATE change is real and set to cause dramatic temperature rises in the coming century, according to a leaked draft of a major United Nations report.
The study, by a panel of 2,500 scientists who advise the UN, is the most complete overview of climate-change science and will be published next month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after a final review.
The IPCC's reports are regarded by many environmentalists as cautious, because the findings have to be agreed by member states including oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia.
The draft, which was leaked by scientific sources, says it is "very likely" - more than a 90 per cent chance - that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, are to blame for warming since 1950. The previous report in 2001 said the link was "likely".
It projects temperatures will rise by 2-4.5C (3.6-8.1F) above pre-industrial levels, with a "best estimate" of a 3C (5.4F) rise, assuming carbon-dioxide levels are stabilising at about 45 per cent above current levels. The European Union says any temperature rise above 2C will cause "dangerous" changes.
Leading environmentalists said the report was the final nail in the coffin for "climate-change deniers" and also presented a challenge to government to impose tougher restrictions on greenhouse gases in order to prevent a temperature rise of 2C or more.
In New Delhi, Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, said he hoped the report would act as a wake-up call to the world.
"I hope this report will shock people, governments, into taking more serious action, as you really can't get a more authentic and a more credible piece of scientific work."
The draft also predicts more droughts, rains and shrinking Arctic ice and glaciers, and rising sea levels to a foreseeable 2100, but cautions that the effects of a build-up of greenhouse gases will last far longer.
"Twenty-first century anthropogenic (human-caused) carbon-dioxide emissions will contribute to warming and sea-level rise for more than a millennium, due to the timescales required for removal of this gas," sources quoted the report as saying.
However, the report had some good news, quoting six models with central projections of sea-level rises this century of between 11in and 16.9in - compared with a far wider band of 3.5-34.6in in the 2001 report. Rising seas would threaten low-lying Pacific islands, coasts from Bangladesh to Florida and cities from Shanghai to Buenos Aires.
It also said there were uncertainties about whether higher temperatures would bring more cooling clouds - their white tops bounce heat back into space - and added that dust from volcanic eruptions and air pollution seems to have braked warming in recent decades by similarly reflecting sunlight.
Dr Richard Dixon, the director of WWF Scotland, said the report emphasised the need for governments to take action to restrict concentrations, currently at 380 parts per million, to 450ppm, rather than softer targets of 500ppm or 550ppm.
The draft says it was "very unlikely" that the temperature rise could be restricted to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, but Dr Dixon said this suggested that the rise could still be held below 2C. "They are saying by implication that staying below 2C is possible, but requires massive effort."
Dr Dixon said the report should finally end the debate about whether climate change is happening.
However, while he still has hope, environmentalist Professor James Lovelock, who came up with the Gaia theory of the Earth as a living entity, said the world should prepare for the worst.
"Most people don't realise what a 3-5C rise would be like. It's as big a difference as between the last Ice Age and now. It's huge," he said.
He said Britain and particularly Scotland would be less seriously affected, because the ocean would help to keep the country cool. "Our main problem will be dealing with refugees. Every European has the right to come here - and there will be 500 million."
The report predicts:
- Temperatures are likely to rise by between 2C and 4.5C above pre-industrial levels if concentrations are kept at 550 parts per million in the atmosphere, as against about 380 now. The "best estimate" for the rise is about 3C.
- The warming is unlikely to be less than 1.5C.
- It is "very likely" that extremes such as heatwaves and heavy rains will become more frequent. Arctic sea ice could disappear in summer by the latter part of the 21st century in some projections. Warming is expected to be greatest over land and at high northern latitudes and least over the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic.
- Antarctica is likely to stay too cold for wide surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to a rise in snowfall.
- A system of Atlantic currents including the Gulf Stream, bringing warm waters northwards, are likely to slow by 2100, but an overall warming will more than offset any cooling effect.