A new, leaked report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has changed it’s stance on human responsibility in regard to global warming. According to the report, there is a near certainty that humans, specifically in regards to high emissions of carbon dioxide, are to blame for global warming. In other words, humans have caused Global Warming.
The IPCC is a panel of scientists that were originally assembled in 1988. The group collects data from around the world and assesses it, looking to understand the climate data gathered, trying to understand the larger picture. While the group does no research themselves, they have become the most important body for interpreting global changes in our climate.
The IPCC produces a report every five years on the current state of climate change along with their predictions on what may occur with and without human intervention. The group was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along side Al Gore, in 2007. This was the same time that the global scientific community looked to the IPCC report as the definitive word on the current state of climate change.
In their 2007 report, the IPCC were projecting changes in temperatures of at least 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. They also said it was likely, around 90 percent, that humans were the cause of the current rise in temperatures since 1951.
The leaked report, set to be finalized sometime at the end of Sept., changed its stance on the cause of the climate change to a near certainty, about 95 percent, that human are the cause of the rising temperatures in the world. They also re-evaluated the projected temperature increase, saying it could be as low as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, but that it was likely to be higher.
While there has been a slow-down of temperatures increasing in the past few years, that is commented on by the IPCC as a short term change and does not affect the larger picture of global warming. Since the Industrial Revolution humans have contributed more than 41 percent of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to the planet’s atmosphere. If current trends remain, we could see a doubling of CO2 emissions in the next few years.
The report goes on to say, if humanity is able to retard the upward trend of greenhouse emissions, then we could see as little as 10 inches increase in sea levels. However, if trends remain there could be as little as 21 inches rise in sea level, with over three feet more likely by 2100. A change this significant would significantly alter, if not destroy, cities like London, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Sydney, and Shanghai, to name a few.
Being a report that most government agencies rely upon for climate policy, we could see an even bigger shift in the regulation of environmental factors. Chief among them would be how we create and maintain our national energy policy. Things like fracking, oil drilling, and coal production may see a huge decline as we, as a species, try to get our impact on our global environment under control.
With this even stronger warning that we are the cause of our climate changing, the need for alternative energy and electric vehicles are becoming more and more pressing. How this will shape energy policy moving forward will be every interesting as it will have greater impacts on our daily lives moving forward.
By Iam Bloom