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In Bangkok, U.N. Climate Panel Visits a Conundrum

The city of Bangkok reveals much about why it's so hard to do anything about climate change. The city, which is hosting a meeting of the U.N. Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change this week, is home to 12 million people.

Every year, Bangkok's residents use more electricity, which means burning more petroleum, natural gas, and coal. That's making the Earth warmer, and causing the oceans to rise.

And for Bangkok, which is just a few feet above sea level, that will mean a future filled with devastating floods.


Still, like many people, those living in Bangkok want their cars and air conditioners and computers and flat screen TVs. And they want economic growth so they can pay for all those things.

Trying to find a workable balance between the need to address global warming and people's willingness to make changes is what the panel on climate change has been grappling with all week.

Scientists and government representatives from around the world have been meeting in Bangkok this week to hammer out a new report on ways to slow or prevent the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

It's the international panel's third report this year on different aspects of climate change.

While the panel members agree that climate change is a huge problem, different countries have very different views on how to stop it.


In Bangkok, there are many fluorescent light bulbs,which are efficient. You also see taxis running on natural gas. But over the past two decades, the amount of carbon dioxide produced by Thailand has more than doubled.

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