A major international report warns that temperatures will continue to rise in the coming century, and that renewable energy technologies must be adopted to mitigate damaging action from humans.
SHANGHAI, China – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects a “potentially devastating” global warming of 1.4 to 5.8 Celsius by the year 2100. The Panel is jointly sponsored by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). “The scientific consensus presented in this comprehensive report about human-induced climate change should sound alarm bells in every national capital and in every local community,” says UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfer. “We must move ahead boldly with clean energy technologies, and we should start preparing ourselves now for the rising sea levels, changing rain patterns, and other impacts of global warming.” The report provides strong evidence of human influence on the rising temperatures that have been recorded over the past 50 years. It contains new analyses of data from tree rings, corals, ice cores and historical records for the Northern Hemisphere which indicate that the increase in temperature over the past 100 years was likely the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years, and that the 1990s was likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year. Most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities, explains the report. IPCC can reconstruct climate data for the past 1,000 years and model estimates of natural climate variations. Since 1750, atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 31 percent, from 280 ppm to 367 ppm now. The present CO2 concentration has not been exceeded during the past 420,000 years and likely not during the past 20 million years. The higher temperatures will cause greater amounts of rain and snow, according to the report, which states that more intense precipitation events are likely over many Northern Hemisphere’s mid- to high-latitude land areas. “The scientific findings being reported today should convince governments of the need to take constructive steps towards resuming the climate change talks that stalled last November in The Hague,” adds Michael Zammit Cutajar, of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Those discussions were designed to operationalize the Kyoto Protocol which set binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The report, “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis,” will be followed by a second volume on the impact of the phenomenon in February, and a third volume on response strategies in March. The report is available at http://www.ipcc.ch. The full report is 1,000 pages and took three years to write by 123 lead and 516 contributing authors. The delegates unanimously accepted the report.