There's a 90 percent chance Earth?s temperature will climb between 3 and 9 degrees this century, an international team of scientists reported today. The most likely scenario, according to the European and American scientists, is a rise of between 4 and 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal temperatures, a spike of about five times the increase recorded this century. If melting arctic areas start outgassing massive quantities of methane, the heating process could be even faster, possibly much faster.
An earlier report issued by the United Nations? scientific body, the International Panel on Climate Change, predicted global temperatures will rise somewhere between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees, but did not say which side of the scale was more likely. Their newest report, which appears in the journal Science, is more specific.
?A fundamental aspect of the climate change problem is we?re uncertain about the future,? says John Reilly, associate director for Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. ?We need to quantify these uncertainties.?
Many climate scientists say the jump in temperatures spells catastrophe for life on Earth. It is already blamed for melting glaciers, polar icecaps and Siberian permafrost. The melted ice will push up sea level by as much as 3 feet by 2100, other studies suggest, submerging low-lying islands and coastlines, including the East Coast of the United States.
Even if governments around the world eventually come to an agreement, it will probably take decades for the effects to be seen, says Reilly. ?Anything we do will only gradually affect the path we?re on,? he says. ?We need to start implementing some domestic measures to learn from them, like how much they cost. Anything you can do to save energy are things that will reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions. There are things out there that people can do. But we like to drive a lot. And we seem to like ever larger automobiles.?
In regard to SUVs, Christian groups are asking the question 'what would Jesus drive],' and finding that the answer is not an unnecessarily large vehicle.
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