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Global Warming: "It Will Continue For Centuries," Says Report

Monday, 5 Feb 2007 | 10:12 AM ET

“It’s later than we think” warns a new and grim report on global warming. 2,500 of the world’s leading climate scientists say global warming is so severe it will continue for centuries leading to a far different planet. As you can imagine, the findings presented by the International Panel on Climate Change have sparked a wide range of reactions. On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Joe Kernen spoke with an esteemed scientist who believes there might be a dirty little secret behind them.

The worst could mean more than 1 million dead and $100’s of billions of dollars in damage by 2100, as people are forced to adapt to a warmer world with more extreme weather such as droughts, hurricanes, and wildfires, study co-author Kevin Trenberth said in an interview.

The the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was the first of four to be released this year, which was created by the United Nations in 1988. Here are the findings as reported by the Associated Press:

Global warming is "very likely'' caused by man, meaning more than 90 percent certain. That's the strongest expression of certainty to date from the panel.

If nothing is done to change current emissions patterns of greenhouse gases, global temperature could increase as much as 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.

The report also urges nations to take action now, to avoid the worst case scenarios.

`It's later than we think,'' said panel co-chair Susan Solomon, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist who helped push through the document's strong language.

With billions of dollars at stake, it comes as no surprise that not everyone agrees with the reports findings, including some of the most esteemed names in meteorology. CNBC spoke with one of them.

Global Warming Debate
According to meteorologist Dr. William Gray, global warming is due to natural alternations of global ocean circulation and rainfall. Dr. Gray shares his view with CNBC's Joe Kernen.

“I believe (human action) is grossly exaggerated. We may get a little slight global warming from CO2 build up and other green house gases but this has been grossly exaggerated,” said William Gray, Professor Emeritus at Colorado State University. “And there’s a vested interest in it. If you can alarm the people you can get more government research funds.”

Gray, a pioneer in hurricane forecasting is one of 17,000 (that’s thousand) scientists who have signed a document refuting the IPCC study. “Most of the scientists who go along with (the IPCC) have very little experience in studying ‘atmosphere ocean’ and they’re really not qualified to say.”

“Much of this is natural change do to deep ocean circulation patterns. They don’t understand it yet. I’m sure in 10-20 years we’re going to look back on this and see this whole argument was grossly exaggerated.”

We’ll be watching.

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  • Joe Kernen is co-anchor of "Squawk Box," CNBC's signature morning program.

  • Becky Quick is co-anchor of "Squawk Box," CNBC's signature morning program. She's also a columnist for Fortune.

  • Andrew Ross Sorkin is a co-anchor of "Squawk Box," a financial columnist for "The New York Times" and the editor-at-large of NYT's DealBook.