Latest IPCC Report: "Time is Running Out"

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
Christopher Parker

Yesterday in Copenhagen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a press release to coincide with its release of the Synthesis Report from the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) which summarizes the key findings of all of the AR5 reports published so far.

The message couldn’t be more clear: human activities have influenced our planet’s climate and that influence is growing. Climate change threatens irreversible and dangerous impacts. However, we do have options if choose to adopt them to limit some of these impacts, but time is running out. Political will is required to make these changes.

Here is brief video of Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations highlighting some of these key points. How well world leaders will heed these warnings next year in Paris and actually decide to make some changes remains to be seen.

IPCC AR5 Working Group III Report: Time is Ticking….

This past week in Berlin, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released. Working Group III was assigned the task of looking into the mitigation of global warming and climate change, and has provided their summary of where our world is heading on its current path. It’s all part of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Working Group I reported late last year, and Working Group II released its report just last month.

According to the findings, our world is not making enough progress despite increasing its efforts to reduce emissions. The concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continues to climb in the atmosphere, reaching unprecedented levels that haven’t existed in at least 800,000 years. The report indicates that only major institutional and technological change will keep us below the level of two degrees Celsius warming, widely accepted as a reasonably safe threshold to avoid a true climate crisis.

That level equates to keeping our carbon dioxide concentration below 450 parts per million. To do that we’ll have to increase our use of low-carbon sources of energy (such as renewables and nuclear power) by three to four times what we’re already doing. Other strategies can help as well including improved energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage, but renewable sources of energy are our best bet. Continue reading

IPCC: "Climate Change is Affecting All Continents"

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the largest international project with the purpose of providing nations of the world with a distilled summary of the status of climate change, both the science behind it and its effects. This information is available to the world’s leaders so they can develop the best policies that can help tackle the problem, if they choose to that is.

Their last complete report—the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)—came out back in 2007. The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is being released out in steps over a number of months.

The Working Group I report was the first step. It addressed the basic science and how climate change occurs and came out last September. One of its recommendations was to adopt a “carbon budget” that we need to stay within if we hope to limit global warming to under 2°C, the level generally considered by most climate scientists as a safe upper limit that would avoid an absolute catastrophe. What that carbon budget means, however, is that our planet can only emit a total of about 1,000 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere and we’re already more than halfway, at about 531 gigatons as of 2011. Given that we currently add about 35 gigatons annually, we have our work ahead of us if we’re going to stay within this threshold.

Step two of AR5 is being released today. According to the Guardian, the report comes to the conclusion that climate change has already “caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans.” The biggest immediate threat is Continue reading

I've Got a Fever, But More Cowbell Isn't the Answer

“The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.”
IPCC AR5 Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) last week. It’s a big enough document that most people around the world are unlikely to read it. There will be those like me who want to read and digest it in order to understand what the world’s best experts have come together in consensus to say about the state of our planet’s climate. And of course there will be the deniers and skeptics who will want to dissect it to try to come up with counterarguments to its conclusions.

Compared with earlier reports the IPCC has released, AR5 has ramped up its certainty that our human activities are the main culprit for the level of global warming we’re seeing to greater than 95 percent. To put that into perspective, that’s on a par with the certainty that scientists have that smoking causes cancer. Here are some of their other conclusions: Continue reading

The IPCC AR5 Report: Be Prepared for Attacks

“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.”
—Bill Watterson

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is out. Well, at least the report from Working Group I is. (The reports from Working Groups II and III will be released over the coming year.) But you’d better be prepared for the inevitable backlash from sceptics and deniers the world over now that this report is public, the first in six years to come from the IPCC.

The document is rather large and will take some time to get through, but here are some of the highlights you can expect to find: Continue reading