The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on February 20, 2001 · 4
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The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada · 4

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Tuesday, February 20, 2001
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A4 THE VANCOUVER SUN, " - , ' - - -:-- :" - :, . . T:-S - , - . -: v -' : : ----- ,-- Mount Kilimanjaro peak, highest mountain In Africa. Crop Irrigation and hydro-electric power generation will be harmed by loss of the permanent snowpack, said a U.5. geologist. Snows of Kilimanjaro to vanish by 2020 Scientist predicts African icecap's demise due to global warming By DAVID DERBYSHIRE SAN FRANCISCO The icecap of Mount Kilimanjaro one of the most famous landmarks of Africa, will have melted within 20 years because of global warming. At least one third of the icefield UN report warns of potential disaster Scientific experts predict warming will bring about wide-scale human suffering , ! By THOMAS HARDING , ; and GORDON MARTIN LONDON The world faces dramatic and potentially disastrous climate changes caused by global warming before the end of the century, a United Nations report warned Monday. They will include melting polar icecaps and glaciers, the disappearance of countless . species of animals, birds and plant life, farmland turning to desert, coral reefs and Caribbean and Pacific islands sinking. The predictions came in the most comprehensive study conducted into the state of the world's environmental health. Europe and North America could experience the fall-out from harsh climatic conditions predicted for the undeveloped world. By the turn of the 22nd century, human suffering could increase dramatically with droughts, famine and floods on an unimaginable scale. The potential disaster, with its major impact on the global economy in the 21st century, was set out in a 1,000-page report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It was drawn up by 700 scientists around the world who have been studying the warming problem since 1990. The panel's work is said to have ended debate on whether warming is taking place and moved the issue on to the measures that need to be taken to tackle it. It lists a series of big and irreversible impacts to natural systems. Billions of people may go thirsty, prompting an exodus from drought-nit regions to the developed world. A summary of the report said: "The effects of climate change are expected to be greatest in developing countries in terms of loss of life and relative effects on the economy. "Projected climate change will be accompanied by an increase in heatwaves, often exacerbated by an increase in humidity and urban air pollution, which would cause an increase in heat-related deaths and illness." It predicts within 25 years 5.4 billion people will live in areas where water is scarce. At present it is 1.7 billion. Professor James McCarthy, co-chairman of the panel's working group, summed up the finding in Geneva. "There are reasons to believe that the adverse effects that are experienced in some regions by the 1 Nino phenomenon today will become increasingly severe in the future," he said. "We estimate that tens of millions will be at increased risk of TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2001 on the Tanzanian mountain has disappeared in the past 12 years. Since it was first mapped in 1912, 82 per cent has been lost. "At this rate, all of the ice will be gone between 2010 and 2020," said Lonnie Thompson, a geologist at Ohio State University. "And that is probably a conserva- ENVIRONMENT REPORT Floods, famine, disease epidemics and other disasters could hit rich and poor countries around the world in coming decades if the current rate of global warming persists, United Nations-backed scientists warned on Monday KEY Increased human disease Coral bleaching Increased crop yields fWl Decreased water runoff Q Rising sea level floods & Decreased crop yields J Increased water runoff Drought desertification foj Extreme weather Animal plant extinctions J Melting icecaps glaciers (r ns' W permafrost .10. Source: U.N. Intergovernmental sea level rise and storms in coastal areas." The report calls for work to begin on "adaptation strategies" to help nations and populations to cope with climate change. It has been suggested that charges for water should be increased dramatically. Martin Parry of East Anglia University, one of Britain's leading climatol agists, said: "The key message that's new here is that, for the first time, we can deduce the first signals of global warming and its effect. "The pluses for Britain probably stack up more heavily than the minuses. But we live in an increasingly globalized world where the misery of other countries will come home to hit us." Friends of the Earth demanded an immediate cut in the use of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and L GLOBAL WARMING. tive estimate." ' ; Thompson has conducted an aerial survey of the peak. He has also discovered that global warming was affecting the glaciers of the Andes. "These glaciers are very much like the canaries once used in coal mines," he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco. "They are an indicator of massive changes taking place and a 1771 "(H Panel on Climate Change V -1 v- CANADIAN oil and called on European nations to force U.S. President George W. Bush to agree a deal on cutting emissions. "This report shows that climate change will be a disaster for the world in general and the poorest countries in particular," said Roger Higman, the group's uenior climate campaigner. The panel's critics among the scientific community say that solid evidence for unusual global warming Is not there. Their backers hope the new reports will encourage governments to try harder after they failed at a meeting in The Hague in November to agree on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Last month, the panel projected a potentially devastating global warming of between 1.4C to 5.8C and sea-level rises of between 0.09 and 0.88 metres 1 - 7-? response to the changes in climate in the tropics." Thompson and colleagues have been studying tropical icecaps in Africa, China, Tibet and South America for two decades. .They have also examined ice cores from four sites in Tibet. The Quelccaya icecap in Peru has shrunk by one fifth since 1963. The annual rate of retreat for one of its main glaciers, Qpri Kalis, has been 150 metres in the sis. . i V3 REUTERS At the Columbia Icefield In the Rocky Mountains a marker sits at the spot where the toe of the Athabasca Glacier once reached 50 years ago. The glacier, seen In this Aug. 4, 1998, photograph, has receded more than two kilometres since Its discovery. PRESS FILES over the next century, mainly caused by human activities. Next month the body is to issue a third report looking at what can be done to slow the process and to help people, as well as animal and plant life, to adapt to changes that are already irreversible. In September, the final report will bring together the conclusions and recommendations in one document which scientists and environmentalists, as well as insurance companies and clean energy industries, will pressure governments into action. Parry said: "We have the skills and technological know-how to adapt to a lot of climate change but we haven't yet managed to act together in marshalling them. If we don't do that, then we know the consequences." The Daily Telegraph past three years, 32 times greater than in the period 1963-78. Bare earth has been exposed for the first time in thousands of years. The team drilled cores at the site in 1976 through 152-metre thick ice. "I fully expect to be able to return there in a dozen years or so and see marks on the rock where our drill bit punched through the ice," Thompson said. The loss of the ice will remove Environmentalists not impressed by Ottawa initiatives Anderson talks about vehicles and fuel but critics want action on power plants By BRUCE CHEADLE OTTAWA The federal government, following the U.S. lead, ) is launching a clean air initiative that sets tough new standards for. i vehicle emissions and fuel clean- " liness. But Monday's announcement, which will cost $120rnillion over,,, five years, fell short of lowering nleWiKrtpc-aeisors-., K.rM WaWPdwAhat it is best nnent Minktecikvid Anderon (Victoria vv m w TT-It's nfofefntfignt, mdretjffec"' tive and leads to less opportunities to unload on one side of the border or the other what may not ; be the best technology." "The multf-faceted program sets 10-year benchmarks and will eventually affect every type of machine burning fossil fuels from cars and trucks to chain-saws and snowblowers, construction machinery and heavy industry. The announcement came on the day the UN released a report on climate change projecting "future large-scale and possible irreversible changes in Earth systems," with "continental and global consequences." Environmental groups were split on whether the Canadian plan is a glass half full or half empty. "I feel it's an important step in building the foundation that we need," said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth. Olivastri would like to see cleaner fuel standards extended to all liquid heating fuels, but says . tackling transportation emissions is the right place to start. John Bennett of the Sierra Club of Canada said Monday's news conference, at a federal vehicle emissions testing lab, was a cynical exercise in political cover. "I think it was largely announced today to cover the fact we have such inaction on climate change," said Bennett, "Most of this stuff (Anderson) is talking about is studying, discussing or following programs that exist in the United States." All new vehicles built and sold in Canada will be under tougher emissions standards starting in 2004, while gasoline sulphur levels will be dramatically slashed by 2005, and diesel sulphur by 2006. All these provisions match existing U.S. regulations under the Environmental Protection Agency. Anderson's plan proposes cutting smog-causing nitrogen-oxide emissions from vehicles by 90 per cent. The plan also reiterates a Canada-U.S. agreement signed late last year that proposes cutting emissions from Ontario and Quebec electrical generators by half. But only $2.7 million in the new the frozen reservoir needed for hydro-electric power in the region. It will also affect crop irrigation. "We have long predicted that the first signs of changes caused by global warming would appear at the few fragile, high-altitude icecaps and glaciers within the tropics," said Thompson. "These findings confirm those predictions." The Daily Telegraph IV. "' if ; I JONATHAN HAYWAROCANADIAN PRESS Environment Minister David Anderson In the Commons Monday where he announced clean air Initiatives. program is earmarked for implementation, "in cooperation with Ontario and Quebec," of an emission cap on electricity generation. ; Anderson said Ontario's plan to use scrubbers on its coal-fired i plants won't satisfy the Canada-1 U.S. deal, but was vague when asked what must be done. He " said a switch to more expensive 'tl natural gas-burning plants is an ; optioa A spokesman for Ontario Envi- ronment Minister Elizabeth Wit- i mer said the province already has a plan to make it compliant. i But the Sierra Club is not satis-' ; fied. ; i "A big deal would be if (Ander- son) announced that we're going to require Ontario Power Gener- : ation to stop burning coal," Ben- nett complained. "That would be the announce- ; ment we're looking for." Representatives of the auto- j motive and petroleum products . industries said the federal targets are both achievable and,, inevitable because they mirrof U.S. developments in a commoi North American market. More than $48 million of the n total federal commitment will bf spent on the transportation se , tor, including monitoring, la' testing, and possibly even a pro gram for scrapping high-emife sion vehicles. About $30 million will g$ toward 262 air quality monitor"1 ing stations, including replacuu worn out equipment that wlj j neglected during the federal ciL backs of the 1990s. " Some $23 million will be spaU,, to expand the inventory of polfr tants released, and almost ! million goes to a variety of stis ies, including Ontario and QuMnn bee electrical generation. i I

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