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1ST LEAD: Gore sees climate crisis as "most dangerous ever"Eds; epa photos will be available in due course

By dpa news     Oct 23, 2007 in Entertainment
The crisis caused by climate change is "the most dangerous challenge" humankind has ever faced, US climate change activist Al Gore said on meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Tuesday.
Gore nevertheless predicted a substantial change in human behaviour as the crisis was confronted.
"The climate crisis is by far the most dangerous challenge our civilization has ever faced," Gore said ahead of a meeting with the German chancellor.
But he added the crisis also presented an opportunity. "I am convinced the world will see a great change in the way in which we combat this crisis," he said.
Merkel paid tribute to the former vice-president, who shared this year's Nobel Peace Prize with the UN's climate body, for increasing awareness of an issue that she has made a central plank of her foreign and domestic policy.
Gore was in Berlin to attend a climate conference organized by a German energy sector company.
Earlier German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the conference that action was needed to ensure that global warming did not trigger new conflicts.
"We must take steps to avert a Cold War on the North Pole," the minister said in reference to the scramble by Russia and other states to claim the region's vast energy reserves.
Such claims had to be decided under the aspects of international law, the minister told the day-long gathering sponsored by German energy provider EnBW.
"We have to realize that here we can only win together or lose together," he added.
Russia made claims to the Arctic early August when a research submarine planted a Russian flag on the floor of the Arctic Ocean. The move triggered counter-claims by Canada, Denmark and other states bordering the resource-rich territory.
Steinmeier said the North Pole was not the only region threatened by disputes as a result of climate change. Nations in Africa and Asia could also find themselves in embroiled in conflict, he added.
The conference takes place amid a new report that the Earth's atmosphere is accumulating carbon dioxide much faster than expected, and the planet's oceans and trees are also not absorbing as much CO2 as they used to.
The report to the National Academy of Sciences said the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 is "increasing rapidly."
Gore, who served as US vice president under Bill Clinton from 1993-2001, has become perhaps the most prominent activist against global warming.
His smash hit climate documentary An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar this year and led to calls for him to run again for president in 2008 after losing the disputed 2000 vote to George W Bush. dpa ms rpm sc
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