Major study to take bolder stand on warming

The main international scientific body assessing the causes of climate change is closing in on its strongest statement yet linking emissions from burning fossil fuels to rising global temperatures, says the International Herald Tribune on Monday, citing scientists involved in the process.

In fresh drafts of a summary of its next report, the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said that it is more than 90% likely that global warming since 1950 has been driven mainly by the build-up of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, and that more warming and rising sea levels are on the way.

In its last report, published in 2001, the panel concluded that there was a 66% to 90% chance that human activities were driving the most recent warming.

The shift in language in the current draft, while subtle, is substantive. If it remains in the final version, scheduled for release Feb. 2 in Paris, it will largely complete a quest that lasted decades to determine if humans are increasing the earth's temperature in potentially momentous ways.

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photo by David Shetland