The secretary-general of the United Nations recently warned that the world is “approaching environmental tipping points” due to “runaway climate change.” The latest scientific studies indicate that warming global temperatures are exacerbating extreme weather events such as record-breaking droughts, wildfires, floods and major hurricanes. Opponents of efforts to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gases say such measures would impede economic growth, both in developed and developing countries. However, nearly 200 countries agreed in December to negotiate a new climate change treaty, to be completed in 2015, which would require both industrialized and developing countries to reduce their emissions. But some climate experts say the world has missed its chance to stabilize emissions below levels that will cause intense warming, with severe repercussions.

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