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Scientists demand climate action

CLIMATE ACTION NEEDED NOW

Al Gore took the stage in Oslo and called for the United States and China to make up for their past polluting ways and make the "boldest of moves" to curb carbon dioxide emissions and heal the damage to Earth's atmosphere. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which yesterday shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the former vice president, called the prize a "clarion call" to the world to face up to the gravity of the situation.

Top climate scientists last week signed a petition urging government leaders to take radical action to slow global warming because "there is no time to lose." The petition is to be presented tomorrow night at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, as world leaders meet to negotiate the next global warming treaty.

Such a political statement from Gore is certainly no surprise. But scientists are in it for the science; they usually supply facts and leave it to political figures to decide what comes next. Not this time. Richard Seager, one of the signatories and a scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, said that new scientific research has been more robust in its predictions, "but what focused the attention is really what nature has done," from receding Arctic sea ice to Southwestern droughts.

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