WASHINGTON -- A report from President Carter's environmental advisers warned Tuesday of environmental havoc in the dbfh FJ hjdr j XJfs act now to stem a climate-warming carbon dioxide buildup.
The Council on Environmental Quality report said, for example, that global warming from too muh carbon dioxide might destroy Antarctic ice and raise sea levels by five to eight meters.
The same greenhouse effect, unleashed by burning oil, gas and coal fuels, might make summers too high for good yields in the fertile U.S. corn belt and dry up moisture essential for northern wheat crops, it said.
'In general, it appears that climate zones that are now associated with the more productive agricultural regions would shift toward the poles as a result of shifts in temperature and precipitation,' it said.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere permits sunlight to enter, but prevents heat from escaping into space. The council report estimated that atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased 15 percent to 25 percent since the stavt of the Industrial Revolution mainly because of the burning of oil, gas and coal.
A doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from pre-industrial levels could raise the earth's temperature 3 degrees, taking the world's climate outside the range that has prevailed for thousands of years, the report said.
To avert potential disaster, the report recommended the carbon dioxide menace be considered in all U.S. energy plans and that the country rely more on conservation and renewable energy sources.
'The carbon dioxide problem is too important and too close upon us to be safely neglected in the making of energy policy,' Gus Speth, the council chairman, told reporters. 'We must begin to take the CO2 problem seriously in charting our energy future.'
Speth said the consequences of a climate shift in the next 40 years are 'much too risky' for world governments and planners to ignore, even for another decade.
The report said growing use of fossil fuels would have to peak in the early decades of the next century to head off critical changes that would come from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
But Speth said nuclear power, one of the few energy options without a CO2 drawback, is too risky. The conservation effect of realistic pricing of gas and oil will help slow the greenhouse threat, he conceded.
The report called on the United States, as the world's biggest energy consumer, to take the lead in energy planning that takes the greenhouse effect into account.
What is really needed from governments and the public, said Speth, is a 'philosophical and ethical perspective' on the future of Earth's environment.