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World

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Associated Press
Connie Hedegaard, climate commissioner for the European Union, fields questions about the ongoing international climate negotiations in Qatar.

Calls for climate change heat up

– Despite early cooling from La Nina, 2012 is on track to become one of the top 10 hottest years on record, with the U.S. experiencing extreme warmth and Arctic Sea ice shrinking to its lowest extent, the U.N. weather agency said Wednesday.

In a statement released at international climate talks in Qatar, the World Meteorological Organization said the “alarming rate” of the Arctic melt highlights the far-reaching changes caused by global warming.

“Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said.

Delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha to discuss ways of slowing climate change, including by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists say are warming the planet, melting ice caps, raising sea levels, and changing rainfall patterns with effects on floods and droughts.

Discord between rich and poor countries on who should do what has kept the two-decade-old U.N. talks from delivering on that goal, and global emissions are still going up.

The scientists said their computer models predict the Arctic could become essentially free of ice in the summer by 2050, but added that current trends show ice melting faster than the computers are predicting.

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