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Human activity to blame for global warming: r -

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Human activity to blame for global warming: report

AM - Saturday, 3 February , 2007 08:00:00

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

ELIZABETH JACKSON: The International Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations' paramount
scientific authority on global warming, has issued a stark warning that global warming will be
unstoppable for centuries to come.

And the panel has predicted that if little is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures
will rise and the sea level will increase by the end of this century.

The results will be more extreme weather conditions and the polar sea ice will melt dramatically.

Scientists have blamed human activity for the global warming, arguing the evidence is now
irrefutable.

There are some disturbing implications for Australia in the report's findings and we'll speak to
the Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull shortly.

But first, here's this overview from our Europe Correspondent Stephanie Kennedy.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Two-and-a-half thousand of the world's top scientists have spoken as one. They
insist there's no longer any doubt that man is behind the rise in global warming and the science is
beyond doubt.

The head of the UN Environment Program, Achim Steiner presented the United Nations' Report on
Climate Change to the world's media in Paris.

ACHIM STEINER: Ladies and gentlemen, the 2nd of February 2007, here in Paris will perhaps one day
be remembered as the day where the question mark was removed behind the debate about whether
climate change had anything to do with human activity on this planet.

This is the key message of this report. It is an unequivocal set of pieces of evidence that have
been put before the world about how fossil fuel use, agriculture and land use change are
fundamentally affecting the systems on our planet.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Based on computer predictions, this is the most comprehensive survey ever
carried out into the world's weather, land and oceans systems.

Scientists agree that the planet is heating up faster then previously thought and human activity is
very likely to blame for global warming.

Dr Susan Solomon is one of the lead authors of the report.

SUSAN SOLOMON: Warming of the climate system is now unequivocal and that's evident in observations
of air and ocean temperature, melting of snow and ice, rising global mean sea level and some
aspects of extreme weather, including droughts, heavy precipitation, heatwaves and the intensity of
tropical cyclones.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The UN Panel on Climate Change predicts that fossil fuel pollution will worsen
floods, droughts and hurricanes and melt polar sea ice.

They warn that the changes are unstoppable and will cause global temperatures to rise by up to four
degrees by the end of this century, and sea levels will rise by more than half a metre.

Stephanie Tunmore from Greenpeace International argues that this report is a wake-up call and she
hopes it will galvanise politicians into taking strong action.

STEPHANIE TUNMORE: It's clear from the report that we know far more now than we did when even the
last report happened and we just don't have that much time left.

The window of opportunity is closing and I think that the combined findings in the report prove
that. That's what's really frightening. We don't have a lot of time to sort this out.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Tony Juniper speaks for Friends of the Earth.

TONY JUNIPER: The world has just been issued with yet another dire warning and the question has to
be now not: "Is it a problem?" but, "What are we going to do about it?"

And this is now really a political question and a matter of what governments are going to,
individually and collectively, do to bring down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst
consequences of this.

STEPHANIE TUNMORE: Several European countries lobbied for the text of the report to use stronger
language.

Instead of arguing that it was "very likely" that human activity has caused global warming, they
wanted to use the term "extremely likely", but China refused to support that wording.

This is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for Saturday AM.