IPCC Climate Change Report 2013 – The Physical Science Basis

“Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis” presents clear and robust conclusions in a global assessment of climate change science— not the least of which is that the science now shows with 95 percent certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century. The report confirms that warming in the climate system is unequivocal, with many of the observed changes unprecedented over decades to millennia: warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, diminishing snow and ice, rising sea levels and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.

These and other findings confirm and enhance our scientific understanding of the climate system and the role of greenhouse gas emissions; as such, the report demands the urgent attention of both policymakers and the general public.

As an intergovernmental body jointly established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided policymakers with the most authoritative and objective scientific and technical assessments. Beginning in 1990, this series of IPCC Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, Methodology Reports and other products have become standard works of reference.

This Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment report contains important new scientific knowledge that can be used to produce climate information and services for assisting society to act to address the challenges of climate change. The timing is particularly significant, as this information provides a new impetus, through clear and indisputable physical science, to those negotiators responsible for concluding a new agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.

Climate change is a long-term challenge, but one that requires urgent action given the pace and the scale by which greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere and the risks of a more than 2 degree Celsius temperature rise. Today we need to focus on the fundamentals and on the actions otherwise the risks we run will get higher with every year.

Source: Cambridge University Press

Publication Date: September 2013

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