President Bush has sent a report titled ?U.S. Climate Action Report 2002? to the United Nations, which details the specific and far-reaching effects that global warming will inflict on the U.S. environment. For the first time, the Bush administration blames recent global warming on human actions and says the main cause is the burning of fossil fuels which trap greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The report says the United States will be substantially changed in the next few decades, with a disruption of snow-fed water supplies, more heat waves, the disappearance of Rocky Mountain meadows and coastal marshes.
However, it does not suggest making any changes in order to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Instead, the White House report suggests that we learn to adapt to the inevitable changes. The report concludes that no matter what is done to cut emissions in the future, nothing can be done about several decades worth of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Bush still calls only for voluntary measures to slow the rate of growth of greenhouse gases.
Nevertheless, this is the first time the administration has admitted, in specific terms, that global warming has a human cause and a detrimental effect. Before, the White House has called for more research to help resolve the question.
?The Bush administration now admits that global warming will changed America?s most unique wild places and wildlife forever,? says Mark Van Putten, president of the National Wildlife Federation. ?How can it acknowledge global warming is a disaster in the making and then refuse to help solve the problem, especially when the solutions are so clear??
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Satellite imagery shows that the great majority of the world's glaciers are melting at alarming and accelerating paces. If the climate warms at an accelerated rate over the next century, the glaciers would be adversely affected.
Though most glaciers are receding, the joint study by NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found that a small minority of them are increasing their bulk. Scientists from 23 countries are using satellites to map and examine glaciers throughout the world. during the middle to latter part of the melt season when permanent ice is exposed and are comparing the current images with older topographical maps and other records.
"Glaciers in most areas of the world are known to be receding," says USGS scientist Jeff Kargel, who heads up the project. "But glaciers in the Himalaya are wasting at alarming and accelerating rates, as indicated by comparisons of satellite and historic data, and as shown by the widespread, rapid growth of lakes on the glacier surfaces."
When ice melts and pools, the melt rate can increase dramatically. While ice reflects the Sun's rays, lake water absorbs and transmits heat more efficiently to the underlying ice, which creates further melting. According to a 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists estimate that surface temperatures could rise by 1.4
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