Faster global warming trend predicted

Leaked figures show world scientific panel more clearly blaming anthropogenic emissions

Scientists charged with forecasting global temperature increases due to climate change have almost doubled their worst-case scenarios since their last assessment for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1995. The latest projections to 2100 range from a 1.5 to 6 degrees centigrade increase in global average temperatures. In 1995, the projections were for increases between one and 3.5 degrees. The report also suggests more strongly than in the 0past that human induced climate change is actually occurring.

The IPCC forecasts have emerged months before representatives of the world's governments were due to agree them and just before world governments meet in the Hague to finalise rules for implementing the UN Kyoto protocol. Details of the report were first publicised in yesterday's edition of the New York Times newspaper.

A leading British climate researcher told ENDS Daily that the higher forecasts were likely the result of two changes in thinking. The first is higher carbon dioxide emissions, with one or two scenarios suggesting that levels will still be higher than at present even in 2100. The second is that global sulphur emissions are expected to fall as a result of south-east Asian anti-acidification programmes. Sulphur dioxide has a cooling effect in the atmosphere, so this will tend to raise global temperatures.

Follow Up:
IPCC, tel: +41 22 730 8208; IPCC emission scenarios; New York Times, and

Correction
3/11/00 ENDS Daily now understands that the majority of the IPCC carbon scenarios used in the study reported above assumed higher emissions in 2100 than currently rather than just "one or two" as we reported. A principal reason for the higher forecast of global temperature rise compared with the IPCC's 1995 report was that two scenarios assumed much higher emission levels in 2100 - five to six times more than at present.

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