- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006


Not for 400 years, and maybe 2,000 years, has the Earth had such a fever.

So say climate scientists of the National Academy of Sciences in a report requested by Congress. The academy said yesterday that the “recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia.”

A panel of climate scientists told lawmakers that the Earth is heating up and that “human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.” Their 155-page report said average global surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose about 1 degree during the 20th century.

This is shown in bore holes, retreating glaciers and other evidence found in nature, said Gerald North, a geosciences professor at Texas A&M; University who chaired the academy’s panel.

Climate scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes had concluded the Northern Hemisphere is the warmest it has been in 2,000 years. The scientists concluded, with some hedging, that the Mann-Bradley-Hughes research from the late 1990s was “likely” to be true, said John “Mike” Wallace, an atmospheric sciences professor at the University of Washington and a panel member. The conclusions from the ‘90s research “are very close to being right” and are supported by recent data, Mr. Wallace said.

The report was requested in November by the chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, New York Republican, to address skeptics, including some climate scientists, who question whether global warming is a major threat.

When Rep. Joe Barton, the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, opened an investigation of three climate scientists last year, Mr. Boehlert chided him, telling him that he should try to learn from scientists, not intimidate them. Mr. Boehlert said yesterday the report shows the value of having scientists advise Congress.

“There is nothing in this report that should raise any doubts about the broad scientific consensus on global climate change,” he said.

Other new research suggests that global warming produced about half of the extra hurricane-fueled warmth in the North Atlantic in 2005, and natural cycles were a minor factor, said Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a research laboratory sponsored by the National Science Foundation and several universities. Their study is published by the American Geophysical Union.

The Bush administration contends that evidence of the threat is not persuasive enough to warrant new pollution controls that would have cost 5 million American jobs.

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