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. Japan temperatures could rise five degrees by 2100: panel

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 9, 2008
Global warming could cause temperatures in Japan to rise an average of 4.7 degrees Celsius (8.5 Fahrenheit) above normal by the last three decades of the century, an environment ministry panel has warned.

Japan's rainfall may fluctuate widely between a 2.4 percent decline and a 16.4 percent increase compared with the levels recorded in the final four decades of the last century, the panel said in an interim report this week.

The panel is looking to chart out possible scenarios for climate change in a final report to be submitted ahead of the July summit in Japan of the Group of Eight rich nations, where climate change will be a major issue.

Japan has tried to take a leading role in the fight against climate change, although it has come under fire from environmentalists for hesitating at setting new targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for global warming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that global warming at current rates could cause more powerful storms, droughts and floods and eventually threaten hunger and homelessness for millions.

The Nobel Prize-winning UN panel has predicted that the temperatures would rise 2.4 Celsius by 2050 even with a major switch to non-fossil fuels, or by 4.0 Celsius under a "business-as-usual" scenario.

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