5 Important Things You Should Know About the IPCC Climate Change Report

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A little more than six years after its momentous 2007 report on global warming and its associated effects on the planet, the IPCC is back with an even more expansive, authoritative and damning report. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just released its initial conclusions, though the entirety of their findings will be shared over the course of the coming year. Even this first look, though, in the form of a 36 page document intended for policymakers around the globe, offers a stark portrait of the world to come, a warmer, less hospitable world which we humans ourselves will have caused.

5 Is Global Warming Really Our Fault?

According to the IPCC, yes, it almost certainly is. In fact, the just-released report on climate change asserts that it is 95% certain that human activity is far and away the “dominant cause” for climate change. Those are odds any bookie in Vegas would highly encourage you to take. Unfortunately the stakes here are not a winning bet, but rather a suffering planet on which life will be harder to sustain (ours and that of every other species stuck here with us).

4 Who Put This Report Together, Exactly?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was first convened in the late 1980s. The apolitical group’s mission is pretty much summed up by its title: they study the causes, effects, and potential solutions for climate change issues, and they attempt to educate governments, politicians, and the public on this most important of topics. This most recent report is the product of work from no fewer than 800 individuals. More than 200 lead authors worked on the report, with editors from more than three dozen countries working on the writing of those writers and factoring in contributions from more than 600 contributing authors.

3 What Does the IPCC Report Say Will Happen?

There are two potential futures laid out in the IPCC report, and neither of them are fairy tale endings. In one model, current human activity could lead toward a world in which the average global temperature rises by only two degrees Celsius, with sea levels potentially rising by only 26 centimeters. Even that predication would see many coastal communities inundated with water, ice sheets melting ever faster and untold suffering for everything from agriculture to endangered species. At the other end of the spectrum, we could see a temperature increase closer to five degrees Celsius, with sea levels rising as much as 82 CM.

2 Is There Anything We Can Do to Stop Climate Change?

For now, it seems the best we can hope for is slowing climate change/global warming down. Perhaps we can someday exist in a manner that will have no marked effect on our planet, but there is no way to turn 180 degrees overnight. In order to begin containing the rampant effects of global warming, the IPCC report suggests: “substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.” That much, though, scientists have long known. Perhaps the best thing that can happen in the short term is much greater education about and acceptance of climate change as a real and present danger. Hopefully this report is a step in that direction.

1 There Is a Silver Lining to This Report

If the IPCC is 95% certain that humans are causing global warming, then that means that we are also in a position to slow it down. This recent report builds on recommendations first made during the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol back in 1997, with the most crucial step needed being the curtailing our emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gasses. We have the technology to move away from carbon-based fuels, we just need the motivation, and the IPCC is on the case.

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According to ICPP, no one can argue global warming is a myth. But it still made the Top 5 Most Believable Conspiracy Theories of all time.

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