The United States is giving
some thought to adding polar bears to the list of threatened
species. The proposal to list polar bears has resulted from a
lawsuit settlement the Bush administration reached in February with
Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council,
and a decision was to be made 12 months after that settlement, based
on the Endangered Species Act petition process.
Global Warming Underestimated
White House refuses to release
climate policy documents
States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing
today on the accusation that the Bush Administration had interfered with
data regarding climate change in order "to mislead the public by
injecting doubt into the science of global warming." On January 23,
2007, Chairman Henry Waxman (D) and Tom Davis (R) had requested
documents from the Council on Environmental Quality, but were denied
Get to Know the
Science Behind Glogal Warming
Our Warming Planet
Effects of Global Warming
A Model of Global Warming
NASA and Climate Change
Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia
is the world's largest environmental experiment.
Largest Environmental Experiment
Researchers are participating in the world's largest
environmental science experiment.
Study by NASA finds that the world’s temperature is
reaching a level that has not been seen in thousands of years.
Scientific Report on Climate Change
- by Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA's Institute for Space Studies, and
the leading authority on climate change. (PDF File)
The Stern Review - We must act now on climate change, or suffer
dire consequences. (PDF File)
Ralph Cicerone, Ph.D. - Testimony to Congress on Climate
Abbreviated | Detailed
Some scientists say
climate change estimates may be significantly
underestimating the potential scale of
global warming. The team of researchers report that the
actual warming due to human fossil fuel emissions could be 15
percent to 78 percent higher than estimates that fail to take
into account the feedback mechanism which involves carbon
dioxide and Earth temperature.
Greenhouse gases are believed to contribute to global
warming, yet scientists have said that global warming itself
triggers greenhouse gas emissions - meaning that the Earth may
get hotter faster than climate models predict.
Another team of researchers in California, has reported a
similar conclusion: "when the Earth has warmed up in the past,
due to the sun's natural cycles, more greenhouse gases have been
spewed into the atmosphere. As greenhouse gas levels rose, so
did the Earth's temperature," the scientists reported.
Dr Margaret Torn of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
said: "It means the warming is happening faster, each decade is
actually warming faster than it would have," Dr Torn said. "It's
the pace of change that will be one of the big problems. It's
how humans adapt and the cost that will depend on the rate of
change of climate."
Over the past 30 years, the Earth has warmed by 0.6 degrees
NASA has reported. Over the past 100 years, it has warmed by
0.8 degrees C, indicating a recent acceleration in warmth.
Current climate models predict temperature increases of 1.5 to
4.5 degrees Celsius, but the California team realised that
additional carbon dioxide caused by the natural solar cycle may
elevate these estimates.
Taking this information on board could mean temperature
increases of 1.6 to 6 degrees Celsius - and the higher
temperatures are more likely, they said in a statement.
Meanwhile, another group of leading US scientists has linked
global warming to the recent increase in hurricane intensity.
They warn that humans must develop cleaner energy and
transportation immediately - or bear the risk of more extreme
"One is faced with repeating history, of putting up with $200
billion worth of damage every so often," said Dr. Peter Webster,
a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of
a 2005 study that found the strength and duration of hurricanes
has doubled in the last 50 years. "I’m not sure how many $200
billion the country can afford," he told journalists.
Lawrence Berkeley's Dr Torn said humans are the biggest
unknown: "To predict the future, you have to guess how much CO2
levels will go up. That depends on the biggest uncertainty of
all - what humans decide to do. Do we get smart and prevent CO2
emissions? Do we continue with business as usual? Or will we end
up somewhere in between?"
© 2007 Greenspan
Photo and design credits:
© 2007 John Chiappone