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The year that changed everything for climate

PARIS: When the history of climate change is written, 2007 will deserve a chapter all to itself. In just 12 months, global warming has been elevated to the great challenge of our time, a cause for public and celebrities alike, a Nobel-winning issue and a headache for politicians of every rank.

In a vast report, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued its grimmest scientific assessment yet. Its prose lacked varnish, was riddled with jargon impenetrable to the outsider and admitted to areas of doubt or uncertainty – but this honesty made the findings all the more terrifying.

Its verdict: global warming is a fact. Humans bear inescapable responsibility for it, thanks to the uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels.

Signs are all around

Climate change is already visible, in the form of shrinking glaciers and snow cover, and misery for millions lies just decades away. On current trends, said the IPCC, drought, floods, rising sea levels and more violent storms will lead to hunger, disease and homelessness. No country will escape damage.

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