Global Warming Debate Shifts to 'Tipping Point'
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.
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