Global Warming Debate Shifts to 'Tipping Point'

The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted.

Published: 30-Jan-2006

Scientists warn about widespread coral bleaching, a dramatic rise in sea levels and a shutdown of a major ocean current. Some also say the Bush administration is trying to block them from speaking about their concerns.

Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend.

This "tipping point" scenario has begun to consume many prominent researchers in the United States and abroad, because the answer could determine how drastically countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. While scientists remain uncertain when such a point might occur, many say it is urgent that policymakers cut global carbon dioxide emissions in half in the next 50 years or risk triggering changes that would be irreversible.


2006 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is powered by an 8-liter, 16-cylinder engine that produces some 1,000 horsepower and 950 foot-pounds of torque, delivering 0-188 mph in 14 seconds.

Greenland ice cap breaking up at twice the rate it was five years ago, says scientist Bush tried to gag. Photo Credit: E Wesker.

CO2 emissions information is already required on all new cars in Europe; a 2005 California law mandates similar information be provided on all cars starting in the 2009 model year.


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