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IN THE NEWS - Calls for Action Follow UN Report That Human Activity Is 'Very Likely' to Blame for Global Warming

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

A Greenpeace activist dressed as a polar bear outside the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on January 29 to bring attention to global warming
A Greenpeace activist dressed as a polar bear outside the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on January 29 to bring attention to global warming

Last week, a United Nations report said humans are "very likely" the cause of most of the temperature increases in the last fifty years. It said global warming is undeniable, and that the world can expect to feel the effects for centuries to come.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report in Paris at a conference of climate experts. Representatives of more than one hundred governments agreed on the findings. This is the most detailed scientific report to date on global warming and the influence of fossil-fuel burning and other human activity.

The scientists say there is greater than a ninety percent chance that greenhouse gases are the main cause of rising temperatures and sea levels. The report also links global warming to other changes including increased dryness in some areas and violent storm patterns.

The U.N. panel released its last climate change report six years ago. The scientists say the new report is based on numerous studies done since then, and stronger agreement on global warming.

The new report makes no policy proposals. But the aim is to press governments and industries to cut the release of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for trapping heat.

Some of the scientists wanted to include policy suggestions in the report. Ideas included increased use of renewable energy resources and development of so-called geo-engineering technologies. But most of the scientists at the Paris conference said they believe the immediate goal must be to reduce carbon emissions.

French President Jacques Chirac called for an environmental and political revolution to save the planet.

The White House this week published an open letter on President Bush's position on climate change. The purpose was to show that he has been concerned about the problem since his first year in office. For example, it says that the administration has spent more than nine billion dollars on climate change research.

In the new Democratic-controlled Congress, lawmakers have been holding hearings and proposing bills to deal with global warming.

China is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases after the United States. Experts believe China could become the largest producer as soon as two thousand ten.

But China reacted to the report by saying developed countries are responsible for global warming, and must lead in cutting emissions. China says it lacks the resources to cut its own emissions.

Some people criticized the report, saying the public is being misled about the dangers of climate change. One of those critics, for example, was Bryan Leyland, an energy consultant with the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. He said sun-related effects could fully explain the recent changes. He said people should be more concerned about saving energy and fighting poverty.

IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English was written by Brianna Blake.Transcripts and audio files are at www.unsv.com. I'm Steve Ember.

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