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Report: Climate change causing jump in natural disasters
LONDON (Reuters) -- Climate change is already increasing the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and the trend is likely to continue according to a report released on Friday by the World Wide Fund for Nature.
The report, "Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events," said global temperatures would increase, sea levels would rise, and few places in the world would be spared an increase in violent rainstorms, droughts, tropical cyclones and other climatic disruptions.
Dr. Ute Collier, head of the WWF's Climate Change Program, said the evidence to show extreme weather was the result of global warming was overwhelming.
"We got leading scientists to investigate (the evidence) -- we wanted scientists because they're often reluctant to link events such as more floods and the disappearance of Arctic ice to climate change -- and they've said that climate change is clearly having an impact on the frequency and intensity of natural disasters," Collier told BBC radio on Friday. The report was compiled for the WWF by Pier Vellings and Willem van Verseveld of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the Vrije University in Amsterdam, using observations and documents on climate patterns produced by various organizations over recent decades.
Stark choice for world
The authors said the increase in extreme weather would affect different parts of the world differently, and that the southern hemisphere would suffer most.
Southern Europe was expected to become drier while northern Europe would become wetter. In Britain, summer droughts in the southeast would become more frequent and there would be more winter rainfall across the country, with more frequent flooding.
The authors are cautious over the causes of climate change, but said "at least part of the damage caused by weather extremes is due to human-induced climate change."
"The world faces a stark choice -- reduce emissions or face the fury of nature," Collier said.
However, Richard North of the Institute of Economic Affairs said the consensus view of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- a panel of leading world scientists -- was that little could be done to reverse the trend of global warming, and that humans needed to adjust to it.
"The IPCC says we've put our foot on the accelerator and taking it off a bit won't make much difference," he told BBC radio. "The Greens are defending very high petrol prices. They're ignoring evidence that fuel prices have doubled in the last decade, but it's had hardly any impact on carbon dioxide emissions."
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