tampabay.com

U.S., China balk at climate report

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 1, 2007


BANGKOK, Thailand - The United States and China want to amend a major report by U.N.-sponsored climate researchers to play down its conclusion that quick, affordable action can limit the worst effects of global warming, according to documents reviewed Monday by the Associated Press.

The critiques, among hundreds of government comments on the draft document, are the prelude to what is expected to be a contentious weeklong meeting as scientists and national delegations wrangle over final wording in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to be issued Friday.

Two previous IPCC reports this year painted a dire picture of a future in which unabated greenhouse gas emissions could drive global temperatures up as much as 11 degrees by 2100, and said animal and plant life were already affected by warmer and rising seas, spreading drought and other effects.

The upcoming third report will look at technologies and policies that could help head off damaging climate change, and at what cost, and discuss feasible goals for setting a ceiling on greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere.

The week is shaping up as a test between the Europeans, who want a relatively low ceiling and speedy action, and the Bush administration, whose comments on the draft summary indicate it wants a document envisioning higher ceilings and a longer view on action.

The draft obtained by the AP says greenhouse emissions can be cut below current levels if the world takes such steps as shifting away from coal and other fossil fuels, investing in energy efficiency and working to halt deforestation.