September 1, 2006

Climate panel lowers global warming forecast: report

SYDNEY -- The world's top climate scientists are slightly less pessimistic in their latest forecasts for global warming over the next 100 years, the Australian newspaper reported on Saturday.

A draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change obtained by the newspaper says the temperature increase could be contained to two degrees Celsius by 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions were held at current levels.

A three-degree Celsius rise in the average global daily temperature is projected if no action is taken to cut emissions.

The panel's Draft Fourth Assessment report narrows the band of predicted temperature rises by 2100 to 2-4.5 degrees Celsius, from 1.4-5.8 degrees in the previous assessment in 2001.

Sea levels are now forecast to rise by between 14 cm (5.5 in) and 43 cm (17 in).

The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program in 1988 to investigate the impact of climate change and recommend options for its mitigation.

Its fourth assessment report is due to be completed in 2007.