Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at ipns.com
Wed Jun 5 00:57:10 EST 2002

>From The Oregonian, June 4, 2002, p A7

A U.S. report for the first time blames burning fossil fuels for
greenhouse effect

By JOHN HEILPRIN, The Associated Press
	WASHINGTON - The Bush administration warns in a report to the United
Nations of significant effects on the environment from climate change
but suggests nothing to deal with heat-trapping greenhouse pollution
beyond voluntary action by industry.
	For the first time, the administration puts most of the blame for
recent warming on human activity, pointing to the burning of fossil
fuel that releases carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into
the atmosphere, according to the report released by the Environmental
Protection Agency.
	"The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly
due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant
part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability,"
the report says.
	"Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to
continue through the 21st century," it says. "Secondary effects ...
include increases in rainfall rates and increased susceptibility of
semiarid regions to drought."
	The report also says that despite some lingering scientific
uncertainties, "There is general agreement that the observed warming
is real and has been particularly strong within the past 20 years."
	In the United States, changes over the next few decades are expected
to put Southeastern coastal communities at greater risk of storm
surges, prompt more uncomfortable heat waves in cities and reduce
snowpack and water supplies in the West.
	The extents of aspen, eastern birch and sugar maple probably will
contract dramatically in the United States, shift into Canada and
cause loss of maple syrup production in northern New York and New
England. Great Lakes water levels are expected to drop, which would
affect navigation, water supplies and aquatic species.
	Production of U.S. hardwood and softwood products is projected to
increase, mostly in the South. Fewer cold days and reduced snowpack do
not bode well for the southernmost ski areas, where costs of
snowmaking would rise.
	Kalee Kreider, global warming campaign director for the National
Environmental Trust, an advocacy group, said environmentalists want
from the administration a climate change plan that joins with other
nations in requiring carbon dioxide emission reductions and increased
fuel efficiency requirements for vehicles.
	"It's good they've done a 180-degree turn on the science. Given the
audience, they pretty much had to," Kreider said. "But we're still
waiting for a plan that mandates pollution cuts."
	White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the administration remains
convinced that the president's plan is the best path, for two reasons.
He pointed to language in the report acknowledging "considerable
uncertainty in current understanding of how climate varies naturally."
	And, he said, Bush's plan will "significantly reduce the growth of
greenhouse gas emissions."

Comment by poster: How will Bush's plan "significantly reduce the
growth of greenhouse gas emissions?" McClellan seems to have forgotten
to include those particulars. Did anyone else hear them?

Daniel B. Wheeler

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