Scientists say freakish weather could become the norm due to global warming

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November 25, 2012

Nation hit by monster storms and record heat in 2012. UN climate talks resume Monday in Qatar

A wildfire raged east of Yuma, Ariz., in March.

November 25, 2012

Nation hit by monster storms and record heat in 2012. UN climate talks resume Monday in Qatar

A wildfire raged east of Yuma, Ariz., in March.

The U.S. was blasted by monster storms and scorched by record heat waves in 2012 — freakish weather that could become commonplace because of global warming, scientists warn.

But climate activists hope the destructive weather could have a side benefit of forcing President Obama off the bench when it comes to the issue of climate change.

American political leaders will have a chance to strike a new note on the issue when UN climate talks resume Monday with a two-week conference in Qatar.

“There will be expectations from countries to hear a new voice from the United States,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute in Washington.

The meeting in Qatar’s capital of Doha will focus on extending the Kyoto Protocol and ramping up climate financing for poor nations. Participants will also lay the groundwork for a new global climate deal that is supposed to be adopted in 2015, a process in which American leadership is considered crucial.

“We need the U.S. to engage even more,” said European Union Climate Commissioner

Connie Hedegaard. “Because that can change the dynamic of the talks.”

More scientists and politicians around the world are coming to accept climate change as a reality.

A recent World Bank report found global temperatures are likely to increase by more than 6 degrees, leading to “extreme heat waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.”

Many activists were disappointed that Obama didn’t emphasize climate change more in his first term, even though he raised fuel-efficiency standards for autos. The issue was virtually absent in the presidential campaign, and there’s little chance of the U.S. increasing its pledge of cutting emissions by 17% by 2020.

“The perception . . . is that the U.S. is not really interested in increasing action on climate change,” said Bill Hare, senior scientist at Climate Analytics.


Courtesy: NYD