Watchdogs call for early action on climate change

24th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - France needs to introduce an early strategy to cope with climate change, whose effects will ripple across almost every sector of society and the economy, a report unveiled by government experts on Friday said.

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - France needs to introduce an early strategy to cope with climate change, whose effects will ripple across almost every sector of society and the economy, a report unveiled by government experts on Friday said.

Global warming will have "colossal environment, health, economic and social consequences", the National Observatory for the Effects of Climate Change (ONERC) said in its first report since it was established in 2002.

Climate change will be "a source of destabilising elements for the economy and a profound changer of lifestyles," ONERC said.

It expected overall temperatures in France to rise by two to four degrees C (3.6-7.2 F) in winter and by four to seven C (7.2-12.6 F) in summer, against three C (5.4 F) for the global average, by the end of this century.

That estimate is based on a scenario -- deemed pessimistic in some quarters -- that concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) will more than double, from 380 parts per million today to 850 ppm in 2100.

The report said that France, a country whose landscape includes high mountains and dry Mediterranean coastline, would be especially vulnerable to the heatwaves, water stress and sudden floods expected to be the hallmarks of climate change.

It highlighted wine-growing as an industry that will suffer enormous change.

The world's winegrowing regions are currently located in warm temperate zones between 25 and 45 degrees of latitude, in both northern and southern hemispheres.

Every increase of one C (1.8 F) causes Europe's winegrowing zone to migrate northwards by 180 kilometers (112 miles), ONERC said.

ONERC proposed a range of benchmarks for monitoring climate change and ensuring that the risk is factored into policies on building standards, water conservation, roads and railways and nuclear power stations, which depend on large quantities of cool water for their coolant systems.

It recommended setting up a special fund to finance adaptation measures.

Global warming, caused by the unbridled burning of oil, gas and coal, is one of the top items on the July 6-8 Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

It notably pitches the leaders of Europe, defenders of the UN's Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gases, against US President George W. Bush, who calls the phenomenon "a serious long-term issue" for which more scientific evidence is needed.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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