In a study commissioned by the White House, the National Academy of Sciences has concluded that global warming ?is real and particularly strong within the past 20 years? and said a leading cause is emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. The panel of 11 scientists produced its 24 page report in less than a month.

This is after Bush stated that he wasn?t sure that global warming was real during his Presidential campaign and enraged Europe by reversing a campaign promise to limit CO2 emissions from power plants.

?Temperatures are, in fact, rising,? the panelwarned. ?Greenhouse gases are accumulating in the earth?s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise.? The report said that ?national policy decisions made now and in the longer-term future will influence the extent of any damage suffered by vulnerable human populations and ecosystems later in this century.?

In the White House’s first official acknowledgment of the academy’s conclusions, Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, told reporters yesterday, “This is a president who takes extremely seriously what we do know about climate change, which is essentially that there is warming taking place.”

Next week, President Bush will travel to Sweden to meet with European Union leaders. He plans to present an alternative to the Kyoto agreement which stresses voluntary measures for reducing emissions. But Swedish Environment Minister Kjell Larsson says, ?I don?t believe there is any kind of voluntary system that could be satisfactory. This is too big, too general an issue to be dealt with by voluntary agreement.?

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the new report does not definitely conclude that human activity is the cause of rising temperatures. ?Yes, temperatures [are] rising. It is uncertain what has caused it and what the solutions might be,? he says. However the report says, ?The primary source, fossil fuel burning, has released roughly twice as much carbon dioxide as would be required to account for the observed increase? in temperature. It also blames global warming on other greenhouse gases caused by human activity: methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.

Senior Bush advisors John Bridgeland, who oversees domestic policy and Gary Edson, an economist, asked The Academy of Sciences with help on ?identifying the areas in the science of climate change where there are the greatest certainties and uncertainties. They were told that one U.S. area likely to be hard hit by climate change is the U.S. breadbasket, the Great Plains.

Senator John Kerry said, ?The science on this has been strong enough that presidents and foreign ministers of other countries have moved on this for years.?

An unnamed scientist who reviewed the report commented that ?They asked a string of questions that might have been appropriate in 1990? and asked the administration, ?Where have you been in the last decade??

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