Two scientific groups studying global warming for the past two years say thermal effects could cause serious environmental damage much sooner that previously thought unless nations take practical measures now. They say the higher temperatures may come early in the next century, much sooner than predicted by most scientists.
Global warming is caused by heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide that pour into the atmosphere to raise the earth's temperature. The result could upset nature's balance by causing polar melting that would increase sea levels to inundate coastlines, agricultural droughts that would diminish the world food supply, thermal effects on all living things and many other disasters.
The scientists recommend immediate action to limit the temperature rise to no more than one-fifth of a degree each decade. This action would include improving energy efficiency, placing greater reliance on natural gas, increasing reforestation efforts and expanding various alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass technologies.
Without such action, global temperatures could rise as much as 2 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2025 and by more than 5 degrees by the end of the 21st century.