Read the main story about the report here.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Climate scientists are more certain than ever that human activity is causing global warming, but the latest comprehensive report did nothing to weaken opposition from most West Virginia political leaders to the Obama administration's plan to cut greenhouse emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Several top elected officials, asked to react to the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, repeated their previous harsh criticism of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to set the first-ever carbon dioxide limits for new power plants.
Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., blasted the EPA for "pressing ahead with a unilateral solution that will undercut American jobs" while "minimally impacting domestic emissions."
"Hammering the American coal industry, raising costs for consumers and manufacturers, and slowing economic growth is not the solution," said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
In its report, released Friday in Stockholm, the IPCC concluded again that the warming of the planet is "unequivocal," citing a range of evidence that includes temperature measurements, melting glaciers, declining sea ice and increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.
"It should serve as yet another wake-up call that our activities today will have a profound impact on society, not only for us but for many generations to come," said World Meteorological Organization Secretary General Michel Jarraud, who chaired the IPCC group that wrote the report.
The Gazette-Mail asked Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and members of the state's congressional delegation to respond to several questions in the wake of the latest climate change findings.
Elected officials were asked, "Do you agree with the IPCC finding that human-induced climate change is a significant problem that needs urgent action? Why or why not?" They also were asked what, if any, policies they proposed in response to the IPCC findings.
Delegate David McKinley, R-W.Va., said, "No other specific policy actions are needed at this time," citing what he said are problems with the IPCC's latest report.
"In their report, they could not explain why mercury [temperature] has stopped rising," McKinley said. "They also acknowledged another possibility: Maybe it was wrong and there might have been an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas."
McKinley said coal is being singled out, while other human activities -- he cited specifically the destruction of tropical rainforests -- also are potentially major causes of global warming.
Actually, the U.N.-sponsored IPCC increased from 90 percent to at least 95 percent its certainty that global warming is caused by human activities, mostly carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil and gas.