The probability of human activities causing climate change is now risen to 95%, according to the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) report, which is expected to be released next month.
Although not yet official, the information that has leaked in the media shows that the likelihood that burning of fossil fuels have triggered the weather anomalies, has increased by 5% since the last report in 2007, 30% since 2001, and just under 50% since 1995.
The annual report is essentially a literature review of some of the latest publications in the field of climatology. No news there, unfortunately. As with every IPCC report until now, this one also misses some key aspects that are crucial for the determination and prediction of future carbon dioxide levels and sea level rise, but in any case it shows that since the 1950s almost no change has occurred due to natural forces.
It is a shame to see that melting of permafrost in the northern regions has been missed, especially when this is one of the major controlling factors that determine the global carbon cycle and if melted it could increase the global temperatures with an extra 1.5 degrees F. Another aspect, which has not been discussed is the findings from recent studies indicating heat absorption by oceans.
The IPCC report presents a possible increase of 9 degrees F before 2120, but it is likely that if immediate actions are not taken, this increase could happen by 2080. This statement clearly allows fossil fuel supporters to interpret it as good news, but what we have to keep in mind is that with a raise of 7 degrees F, present ecosystems and communities will no longer be able to adapt. The influence of human activities has only been described theoretically, presenting a scenario in which emissions are completely stopped or drastically reduced as from right now.
According to Dr Michael Mann, a climatologist, the annual report does not contain anything, which is new or unknown, but it emphasizes that climate change is happening, and burning of fossil fuels is the biggest cause.
Another issue that is discussed is the recently reported slow down in climate change. The trend appears to be true only when surface air temperatures are observed, while the rates of sea level rise and ice melt have actually accelerated over the past century.
As Reuters reporters point out, climate scientists are having trouble locating hot spots or future locations where high intensity storms will hit. It is important to point out that if actions are not taken everywhere, the world could suffer enormously. Only in the U.S it can be expected that around 7 million jobs and a trillion of dollars could be lost as a consequence in the coming decades.
The bottom line is, action is required everywhere. It is unlikely that this IPCC report will influence the decisions of major politicians, or trigger immediate response, because it is presented in a way in which paid fossil fuel campaigners can interpret it as they find convenient, the media is not actively involved in promoting and raising awareness, and last but not least, simply because the report contains too many inadequacies. Now the only thing we are left with is to wait for its official release and hope that we will be happily surprised.