UN Climate Change Report

By Cynthia Kirk

This is the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

A new United Nations report says poor countries would suffer the most from the effects of the warming of the Earth. The report says shortages of food and water would affect some of the poorest parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. These areas also would suffer an increase in diseases. The report says small island nations are most at risk. However, it warns that industrial countries would also be affected.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report in Geneva, Switzerland. Government representatives from one-hundred countries approved the report.

The findings were based on research from hundreds of scientists around the world. They examined how global warming will affect different areas of the world.

The report confirmed the increasingly strong evidence of the effect of human activities on the world's climate. It says burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal are mostly to blame.

These fuels release gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. An earlier report said global warming could cause the average temperature to increase almost six degrees Celsius during the next one-hundred years.

Experts say global warming may cause sea levels in heavily populated coastal areas to rise. The most widespread direct risk to people is from flooding and landslides. Experts say global warming may also cause an increase in diseases such as malaria. They also say many plants and animals may disappear as their environments are destroyed.

The report said poor countries are most at risk. However, it said rising sea levels in the United States may cause flooding and destruction of coastal areas. And it said melting ice caps in polar areas of the world may continue to change the climate for hundreds of years.

Scientists have warned for years about the effects of global warming. But government experts say the new report is the first to show areas of the world most at risk. Environmental groups called for government action. The latest study is one of three reports dealing with climate change. The reports are part of U-N talks aimed at putting an international climate change treaty into effect.

Some experts, however, reject the Geneva report. They say there is no real scientific way to tell the full extent of global warming.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Cynthia Kirk.

Voice of America Special English