Global Warming Without Fear

On September 26, the UN's panel on climate change will present the summary of its most recent assessment report, the fifth in 23 years. The report's conclusions are not nearly as alarming as media coverage will make them out to be.

MALMÖ – On September 26, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will present the summary of its most recent assessment report, the fifth in 23 years. Although the IPCC is not perfect – it famously predicted that all Himalayan glaciers would be gone in 2035, when the more likely year is 2350 – its many experts generally give us the best information on the fractious issue of global warming.

Because of extensive leaks, the report’s contents are mostly known. And, because we have done this four times already, how the report will play out politically is also mostly known. But, because 20 years of efforts to address climate change have not amounted to anything serious, it might be worth exploring a different strategy this time.

The new report’s fundamental conclusion will be that global warming is real and mostly our own doing. Much will be said and written about the fact that the IPCC is now even more certain (95%, up from 90% in 2007) that humans have caused more than half of the global rise in temperature since 1950. But this merely confirms what we have known for a long time – that burning fossil fuels emits CO2, which tends to warm the planet. As climate scientist Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University tweeted: “Summary of upcoming IPCC report: ‘Exactly what we told you in 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 reports…’”

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