A major new report on global warming slated to be released Friday raises new fears that the earth's climate is changing faster than anyone thought possible.
Today, 500 of the world's top scientists are meeting behind closed doors to finish a landmark report on global warming, and the picture they paint is not pretty. They say significant changes in the climate could start happening within the next 10 years.
ABC News has obtained a preliminary draft of the upcoming report on climate change, which shows a grim outlook on the effects of global warming and emphasizes that scientists are more convinced than ever that humans are causing it.
"We're hoping that it will convince people, you know, that climate change is real," said Kenneth Denman, co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
'Sun Shade' in Space?
The report predicts an increase in heat waves, intense tropical storms and hurricanes, a sharp rise in sea level and continued melting of the world's snow and glaciers.
According to a British newspaper, American scientists want the final version of the report, which is due in June, to recommend new technologies called geo-engineering, some of which would block sunlight to the earth and combat global warming. One proposed idea recommends using giant mirrors to deflect some of the sun's rays getting to earth.
With NASA funding, University of Arizona professor Roger Angel is researching using small discs to create a giant "sun shade" in space.
"The effect would or could take our temperature back to pre-industrial level," Angel said.
But these ideas are still considered a last resort. Most scientists believe we need to focus on reducing carbon emissions before resorting to alternatives.
"I don't think geo-engineering is a magic bullet," said Mike MacCracken, head of Climate Institute's Climate Science and Impacts. "We just haven't found anything that's come close to being able to do anything that doesn't have other side effects that you just wouldn't want to have happening."
But we may already be at a point of no return. On Monday, Indonesia's environmental minister warned that rising sea levels stand to swallow up some 2,000 of his country's more than 18,000 islands by 2030.