It's official. The question mark has been removed. A panel of scientists for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released their report on global warming and states unequivocally that "human activity" is the major cause for this plight.

And the report predicts dire consequences for the earth. Droughts, rising sea levels, rising average temperatures, heat waves, stronger tropical storms, basically more of what we've been experiencing lately. For Americans that means more Hurricane Katrinas, more stifling hot and longer summers, as well as warmer winters. Retirees may not have to move to Florida or California anymore; besides, those places might be flooded. Global warming has already been predicted in Europe with the consequences being that the northern countries will benefit while the southern ones will languish. The excellent article in the Financial Times says that rising temperatures will let northerners vacation closer by thereby leaving typical warm getaways such as Greece to deal with their hotter temperatures and related problems themselves.

So what good is the report? In it, governments are urged to do something about this problem. In an interview with Reuters, French President Jacques Chirac said, "Faced with this emergency, now is not the time for half measures. It is the time for a revolution, in the true sense of the term. We are in truth on the historical doorstep of the irreversible." On Thursday night before the report was released, several European monuments turned off their lights as a symbolic gesture showing concern for climate change.

The United States government has tried a few times to be more active in controlling its impact in global warming. The benchmark for greenhouse gas emissions controls is the Kyoto protocol, which the Bush administration pulled out of for lack of proof that global warming is man-made. Now that the proof is here, perhaps Mr. Bush will take a more active role in reducing greenhouse gases for which the United States is the worst offender. In 2003, Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman co-sponsored their self-named Climate Stewardship Act only to have it shot down by the Senate. Perhaps now this important bill will be welcomed and put into use rather than kicked so easily to the curb.

It is also interesting to note that the IPCC report was released one day after former Vice President Al Gore was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring about awareness of global warming. If global warming is the new "it" thing of the year, then let it be and let us start changing for the better.

Global warming is a serious problem, and the world is slowly beginning to realize the consequences of individual as well as big business contributions to it. It took 2,500 scientists organized by a United Nations special panel to realize that global warming is caused by human activity. Now it will take the 6.5 billion-plus people on the planet to take the threat seriously and drastically change their habits in order to keep the world habitable.

keeping the earth ever green

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