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Climate summary fuels worry

With the pending release of a new global-warming report, environmentalists, politicians, and scientists wrangle in Spain for consensus.

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As a major part of the United Nations' effort to study climate change and to do something about it, thousands of scientists have produced thousands of pages documenting the details and causes of global warming.

In Valencia, Spain, this week, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is trying to boil that information down to a 25-page document – a synthesis to guide government policymakers around the world. As the Associated Press reported:

"Everyone will feel its effects, [said Yvo de Boer, director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] but global warming will hit the poorest countries hardest and will 'threaten the very survival' of some people, he said. 'Failing to recognize the urgency of this message and act on it would be nothing less than criminally irresponsible' and a direct attack on the world's poorest people, de Boer said."

Much is at stake, including the future of national economies and migration patterns of humans and other species.

Not surprisingly, a lot of wrangling is going on in Valencia as nations push to emphasize their point of view and concerns. Agence France-Presse reported:

"Much of the discussion ... was related to sections relating to national sensitivity, sources said. Peru and Switzerland, for example, were fighting for a specific mention about the impacts of melting glaciers. The United States, meanwhile, questioned a reference that implied that powerful tropical storms would increase this century."

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