For the past five years the Intergovernmental Panel on Climactic Change, created as a result of a 1992 U.N. treaty, has been assessing data and studies to develop a long range climactic forecast. In so doing the scientists say they are 90-to 95% convinced that the chief cause of the developing changes is the emission of greenhouse gases. While agreeing that human activity (notably burning wood and fossil fuels) is at least partially responsible, the panel said it was not yet possible to determine how much of that is man-made and how much due to natural causes.
Among some of the experts' predictions: The average sea level world-wide will rise more than 45 cm by 2100, rendering uninhabitable many heavily populated river delta regions, including entire cities, mostly in Asia. The result will be a new class of disaster victim: environmental refugees. On the eastern seaboard of the USA, beaches that are already disappearing at the rate of 60 to 90 cm a year, will be gone in 25 years.
Climate change, resulting in sea-level rise and flooding or erosion of low-lying coastal areas and lagoons, will have serious adverse impacts on ecosystems, water resources, coastal zones and human settlements, particularly in the countries of Western and Central Africa, the Nile Delta and the Indian Ocean island states.