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Global Warming Report

Scientists issue a warning to the world

By Karen Fanning | null null , null
Clouds of smoke billow from a factory in northwest China's Gansu province. (Photo: AP Images)<br />
Clouds of smoke billow from a factory in northwest China's Gansu province. (Photo: AP Images)

The United Nations released a report summary on climate change last week. The long-awaited document, which was released in Paris, France, forecast a dim future for planet Earth, warning that global warming is getting worse. "The evidence is on the table," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program.

To draw attention to the report, French officials turned off the nighttime lights of the famed Eiffel Tower for five minutes on February 1—the eve of the report's release. By darkening the city's most famous landmark, officials hoped to increase public awareness about global warming.

The study, issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), blamed human activity for the rising temperatures seen around the globe. Its authors, a group of scientists, warned that average temperatures could increase between 2.5 to 10.4 degrees over the next century. Temperatures climbed just 1.2 degrees between 1901 and 2005.

According to the report, global warming is also contributing to rising sea levels around the world. The report predicts that sea levels will rise between 7 and 23 inches by 2100. It warns that levels will continue to rise for the next 1,000 years.

The full report is thousands of pages, and will be released in four sections. It is the fourth study the IPCC has published since 1990, and marks the first time the panel has declared that global warming is unmistakable.

A Hot Topic

Global warming is caused by an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are released when humans burn fossil fuels like coal, fuel oil, and natural gas.

The issue of global warming has become an important topic. An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary about the perils of climate change (featuring former Vice President Al Gore) is up for two Oscars this year.

During the recent State of the Union address, President George W. Bush urged America to invest in renewable and alternative energy resources such as solar, wind, and nuclear power.

In Europe, new energy proposals last month called for cutting carbon emissions that are responsible for global warming.

The IPCC was created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme.


Are you interested in how environmental changes affect the world? Let Scholastic News Online be your guide! Learn about what Kid Reporters are saying about the changing climate by reading their articles in this special report.


About the Author

Karen Fanning is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.

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