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'Greenhouse effect' poses serious problem, EPA says

In the government's first warning of serious consequences of a warming atmosphere, the Environmental Protection Agency reported Tuesday a ''greenhouse effect'' will start changing life on Earth in the next decade.

The massive report said current estimates suggest a 2-degree Celsius (3.6 F.) rise could occur by the year 2040 and a rise of 5 degrees Celsius(9 F.) by 2100. There will also be dramatic changes in precipitation and storm patterns, and a rise in global average sea levels, the report says.

The greenhouse, or warming, effect comes from increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This lets sunlight that heats Earth enter the atmosphere, but inhibits the escape into space of radiated heat.

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