Global warming to devastate economies, nature in ice-loss sweep

Tue, 2007-06-05 11:23Bill Miller
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Global warming to devastate economies, nature in ice-loss sweep

A report published by the UN’s Environment Program warns that melting glaciers in Asia's mountains could affect an estimated 40% of the world's population, who rely on ice melt for irrigation and drinking water. Global warming could disrupt ecosystems around the world, with devastating economic and environmental consequences for hundreds of millions of people.

The study, issued at the UN Global Outlook for Ice and Snow in Tromso, Norway, said rising temperatures were already thawing permafrost in Siberia, releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

If emissions continue unabated, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, which hold almost all the planet's freshwater ice, are likely to become unstable.

Without measures to mitigate sea-level rise, an estimated 145 million people would be exposed to the risk of flooding.

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Climate migrants

In a sign of things to come, a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says Ottawa should create a new “climate migrants” immigration class to prepare for the inflow of people fleeing extreme climate change.

Estimates of the number of climate-influenced migrants range widely, but most projections agree that in the coming years climate change will compel hundreds of millions of people to...

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