Climate Change by the Numbers
LONDON – Governments around the world have just received one of the most important scientific reports ever written. It provides the starkest assessment yet of how the earth’s climate is responding to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and creating risks for billions of people from extreme weather events and rising sea levels.
A confidential draft of the new report on the causes and consequences of global warming was sent to governments to review on June 7, ahead of the publication of the final version this autumn. Compiled for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by 255 scientific experts from universities and research institutes in 38 countries, the report provides an up-to-date overview of the findings of thousands of recent peer-reviewed research papers.
Most important, the latest IPCC report – part of its fifth comprehensive assessment in its 25-year history – includes an analysis of new computer projections of how global warming might develop by the end of the century. The initial results show that, at current rates of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, average global temperature could be at least three degrees centigrade higher by the end of this century than it was before the onset of the Industrial Revolution and widespread burning of fossil fuels.