The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the policymakersâ summary of its 2007 report today, and it was at once a momentous occasion and nothing new. Nothing new, that is, to the people whoâve been following the science for the past few decades and had already figured out that humans are causing global warming and are going to suffer for our folly.
IPCC reports have tremendous authority, because they represent the work of the worldâs leading scientists conducting the most comprehensive review of scientific research produced on climate change. Now, theyâve said that they are 90% sure that humans are causing climate change â up from being 66% sure in their 2001 report.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) executive director Achim Steiner (quoted in the BBC and Scientific American articles on the reportâs release) summarized the reportâs importance this way:
Friday, 2 February 2007 may go down in history as the day when the question mark was removed from the question of whether climate change has anything to do with human activities.
I hope that the question mark has indeed been removed for good, but of course there are certain groups who have a strong interest in pretending that thereâs still a controversy about whether weâre causing climate change and ought to be worried about it. (See David Michaelsâs post just below this about AEIâs attempts to keep the so-called controversy alive.)
It looks like most of the major news articles have covered this, so there are plenty of places to read about the IPCCâs predictions on temperature increase, sea level rise, etc. (You can also just go straight to the 21-page PDF report here.) There are also plenty of online sources for additional analysis and commentary:
As always, Real Climate is the #1 place to go for informed analysis and commentary. They give some background on the report today, and will have more posts as they digest the report over the coming days.
Ross Gelbspan has posted a breakdown of the effects we can expect at different temperature increases at The Heat Is Online.
Feel free to recommend additional IPCC-related links in the comments.