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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A U.S. District Court judge ruled on June 27 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service both wrongly approved expansion of the West Elk coal mine in Somerset, Colo., because they failed to take into account the economic impacts greenhouse gas emissions from the mining would have.
 
The federal agencies said it was impossible to quantify such impacts, but the court pointed out a tool is...
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