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The sector most impacted by climate change

By Althea Chang

It's Climate Week is in New York City, where weather experts, government groups and businesses are gathering to discuss the latest scientific data on global warming. Energy companies in particular should be most concerned.

"It's going to cause us to gradually change the way that we heat our homes and power our cars, and of course that effort is underway right now, albeit very, very slowly," said Paul Walsh, vice president of weather analytics at The Weather Channel. "[It's] very, very difficult to get our arms around that because it is a global problem and it's also a problem that is at time scales of 10, 20, 30 years, which is very difficult to get our heads around," Walsh said.

But there's a 95 percent probability, or near certainty that climate change is caused by humans and not simply by natural changes in the environment, Walsh added.

Ocean and global surface temperatures are rising, glaciers are melting, and heat-related deaths are on the rise, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The last decade was the warmest on record, and greenhouse gas emissions rose 8 percent from 1990 to 2011, according to the EPA. Warming in the United States is happening faster than it is globally, the agency reported.

In tandem with Climate Week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a worldwide organization of scientists, is set to release a new report this week on the latest scientific findings on climate change and what the future holds as a result of global warming.

--By Althea Chang

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