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Experts Urge Action Against Global Warming

By David C. Lehrer

Disastrous planetary effects will soon result from global warming, said experts at a Kennedy School of Government forum last night.

"There are no serious scientific objections to the possibility of warming," said Professor Michael McElroy, director of the Center for Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard.

E. O. Wilson, Baird Professor of Science, called global warming, or the Greenhouse Effect, a "profound climactic change...the implications [of which] may be as great as the implications of any revolution of the past 120 years."

McElroy and Wilson were among a panel of four science and policy experts speaking to an audience which filled the Arco Forum.

Not only must governments and industries take immediate action to stem the tide of global warming, but individual consumers must also pitch in to combat environmental destruction, the speakers said.

"One must never underestimate the power of the consumer," said Richard Benedick, a senior fellow of the Conservation Society.

Policies designed to counter global warming are tied inseparably to other global problems such as poverty and population expansion, said William C. Clark, a research associate at the Kennedy School of Government.

The world population, which will double to 10 billion within the next century, will put even greater pressure on the environment, he said. "We can't solve the environmental problems without solving the human problems at the same time."

Clark identified two kinds of environmental destruction occuring in two different parts of the world: "Where people have too much poverty and the other...where people have too much wealth."

Speakers also criticized President Bush's inaction on environmental issues, and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu's skepticism of the imminence and catastrophic implications of global warming.

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