The verdict is out.
That gas-guzzling Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) you drive, the air conditioner that you leave humming through the night - they are responsible for global warming.
Worse, the damage from such human activities that consume fossil fuels is unstoppable and will last for centuries.
The result : Worsening killer heat waves and floods, devastating droughts, and stronger hurricanes and tropical storms, say 2500 scientists from more than 130 countries.
Global temperatures and sea levels will also continue to rise, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said yesterday in a bleak assessment of the future of the planet.
It predicted that by the year 2100, temperatures will rise by 1.8 degree Celsius to 4.0 degree Celsius and sea levels, an area of particular concern to Singapore because of the threat of flooding here, will rise by 18cm to 59cm.
It could be another 10cm to 20cm more if a relatively recent phenomenon, the melting of the polar ice sheets, continues.
Scientists also used their toughest language yet to point the finger for such problems at humans, sying that it is "very likely" humans are the cause of global warming. In scientific language, this means they are at least ninety per cent certain of the cause.
The report has sounded a dire warning over the impact of greenhouse gases pouring into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels - they are already at their highest levels in 650 000 years. Leaders, scientists and environmental groups have urged governments and corporations to reduce emissions.
Said French President Jacques Chirac, "Faced with this emergency, now is not the time for half measures. It is the time for revolution, in the true sense of the term."
The Kyoto Protocol - a plan for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases by 2012 - has been severely weakened since the US, the top source of greenhouse gases, pulled out in 2001.
Responding to the report, Singapore National Environment Agency said that it would make studies on the impact of climate change on Singapore.
These studies on rainfall patterns and the effects of extreme weather, among other things, will help in planning measures to deal with the impact of the changing climate.
Singapore Environment Council executive director Howard Shaw said, "Enough has been done as far as legislation can do, but not enough is done by the people. You need a lifestyle change by the people themselves."
Adapted from an article from The Straits Times 3rd Feb 2007
lack of government support
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