Feeling the Heat



The average temperature of the earth's surface has risen by 0.6 degrees C since the late 1800s. It is expected to increase by another 1.4 to 5.8 degrees C by the year 2100 -- a rapid and profound change. Even if the minimum predicted increase takes place, it will be larger than any century-long trend in the last 10,000 years.

Global warming is a "modern" problem -- complicated, involving the entire world, tangled up with difficult issues such as poverty, economic development, and population growth. Dealing with it will not be easy. Ignoring it will be worse.

Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty -- the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -- to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. In 1997 governments agreed to an addition to the treaty, called the Kyoto Protocol, which has more powerful (and legally binding) measures. The Protocol is expected to take effect soon. And, since 1988, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reviewed scientific research and provided governments with summaries and advice on climate problems.

Source: www.unfccc.int


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