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Fragile Arctic region endangered by greenhouse gases: report
WASHINGTON (AFP) Oct 31, 2004
Greenhouse gases have contributed to a gradual warming of the ecologically-fragile Arctic region, causing massive climate changes, including melting glaciers and sea ice, according to a soon-to-be-released environmental study.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the study, to be released November 9, is the first thorough assessment of the causes and consequences of global warming in the region.

The Times wrote that the document endorsed the view supported by many scientists around the world that global warming is caused mainly by rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and that the Arctic region is the first to feel its impact.

"The strength of the trends and the patterns of change that have emerged in recent decades indicate that human influences, resulting primarily from increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, have now become the dominant factor," the newspaper quotes the study as saying.

The study was commissonied by eight nations with Arctic territory, including the United States. The Times said it acquired a copy of the document from European participants in the project.

Research for the study was conducted by nearly 300 scientists, as well as elders from the Native American communities in the region, after representatives of the eight nations met in October 2000 in Barrow, Alaska, amid a growing sense of urgency about the effects of global warming on the Arctic.

The report carries no legal weight, but is seen as likely to increase pressure on the Bush administration, which has acknowledged a possible human role in global warming but says the science is still too insubstantial to warrant imposing mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

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