After the most comprehensive look at global warming science ever performed, the panel found a 100% agreement that global warming was a serious issue affecting our future and that it is unquestionably being caused by human generated greenhouse gases. Much of the political and media debate since then has been an effort for the world to come to grips with the end of global warming debate and start coming up with real solutions.
Now the IPCC's 4th report is set for release, and a draft copy released yesterday offers a sneak preview of the scientific consensus surrounding the environmental destruction and unstable weather that will be caused by unchecked climate change.
A draft copy of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by The Observer, shows the frequency of devastating storms - like the ones that battered Britain last week - will increase dramatically. Sea levels will rise over the century by around half a metre; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains; deserts will spread; oceans become acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heatwaves will become more prevalent.
The report is compiled by thousands of leading scientists and is considered incredibly conservative. Only points and conclusions that are considered indisputable by the entire panel are published in the final document.
Specific findings from the report will include:
- 12 of the past 13 years were the warmest since records began
- ocean temperatures have risen at least three kilometres beneath the surface
- glaciers, snow cover and permafrost have decreased in both hemispheres
- sea levels are rising at the rate of almost 2mm a year
- cold days, nights and frost have become rarer while hot days, hot nights and heatwaves have become more frequent
- and finally, in a point leveled squarely at industry funded "skeptics", the panel reports that mankind's industrial emissions have had five times more effect on the climate than any fluctuations in solar radiation.