Report Warns Global Warming Will Reach Point of No Return in 10 Years

Meeting The Climate Challenge report assembled by Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Center for American Progress in the US and The Australia Institute.

Published: 26-Jan-2005

ON (AFX) - Global warming is 10 years away from the point of no return, with widespread drought, crop failure and water shortages the likely result, reports said, citing the findings of a US-UK-Australian panel

The new study, "Meeting The Climate Challenge," has been timed to coincide with Prime Minister Tony Blair's promised efforts to advance climate change policy this year as head of both the G8 group of richest nations and the European Union

The report was assembled by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Center for American Progress in the US and The Australia Institute

It says the danger point will be signalled when temperatures rise by two degrees centigrade above the average world temperature prevailing in 1750, before the industrial revolution

But it points out that global average temperature has already risen by 0.8 degrees since then, with more rises already in the pipeline - so the world has little more than a single degree of temperature latitude before the crucial point is reached, the paper said

The consequences of such a rise could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests. according to the report

The researchers calculated the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere after which the two-degree rise will become inevitable, and say it will be 400 parts per mln by volume (ppm) of CO2

The current level is 379 ppm, and rising by more than 2 ppm annually - so it is likely that the 400 ppm threshold will be crossed in just 10 years' time, the report adds

"There is an ecological timebomb ticking away," said Stephen Byers, former British transport minister and a close Blair ally, who co-chaired the task force that produced the report with the US Republican senator Olympia Snowe. The report urges all G8 countries to agree to generate a quarter of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and to double their research spending on low-carbon energy technologies by 2010

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