I had time during the week-end to have a look at the summary for policymakers that was published last Friday by the IPCC specialists.
This fourth report brings more precise data and reinforces the impression given by the third report that was published in 2001. During this time, climate specialists had time to study various new phenomena like heat waves (notably the one that Europe witnessed during summer 2003), floods and many others like the Katrina Hurricane in the USA.
Those observed phenomena saw an increase in their magnitude and frequency. There are more and more extreme phenomena and they are more and more violent.
I will give below some quotes of this summary for policymakers that will give the best insight of the problem at grasp. All quotes come directly from the Summary for policymakers published last Friday.
The most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide or CO², has seen its amount increase in our atmosphere.
“Carbon dioxide is the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas (see Figure SPM-2). The global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2005 exceeds by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm) as determined from ice cores”
Worse than that, the emissions of this gas have been increasing for the past ten years.
“The annual carbon dioxide concentration growth-rate was larger during the last 10 years (1995 – 2005 average: 1.9 ppm per year), than it has been since the beginning of continuous direct atmospheric measurements (1960–2005 average: 1.4 ppm per year) although there is year-to-year variability in growth rates. “
For sceptical people, the IPCC includes two statements that are due to change minds who still are denying the very existence of the current climate change :
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level”.
“Eleven of the last twelve years (1995 -2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850”)
So there is now no more doubt that Earth’s climate is warming and that this warming is due to Human activity. When hundreds of scientists are doing the same statement and this with increased precision from their previous report, there is no more time for doubt, but only time for action, and quick action.
So to convince the last people that are doubting and stating that this climate change phase is not due to Mankind, IPCC specialists give other statements like the following:
“Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years (see Figure SPM-1). The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land-use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture.”
“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due (equal or superior to 90 percent of certainty according to the IPCC scale) to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentration . This is an advance since the TAR’ s(Third Assessment Report, IPCC’s previous report) conclusion that “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns (see Figure SPM-4 and Table SPM-1).”
The IPCC report also includes forecast for climate change for the next decades:
“For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.”
Further on page 10 an important warning to Earth population and its various governments worldwide is given:
“Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century”.
A large problem with CO² and other greenhouse gases is that their lifecycle is counted in centuries, this leading to an alarming statement :
“Anthropogenic (ie. Human made) warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized.”
With all this data, it appears that our planet is sick and instead of starting some cure, Mankind has been for the past years injecting every new day more poison to our only planet, Earth.
This situation will end one day. And there are only two options. Whether we as Mankind act proactively and we stand a chance to stop the climate chance process if we start as soon as possible (or even better, right now). The other solution is that we continue as nothing was on and Mankind will face huge troubles.
The actions that are required to be putted on fast require a shift in our consumption habits. We will have to shift our energy sources for cleaner ones like renewables, nuclear or energy conservation and decrease dramatically our fossil fuels consumption.
But as I stated earlier in this blog, the best thing we can do is to change our everyday habits and consume much less energy. We can do this by insulating our housings, by using less our car and by flying less. Some of these habits will enable us to spend less on energy and are likely to increase our everyday comfort and quality of living.
We also have to push our governing bodies to use less fossil fuels and to rely more on clean energies. Renewables are great but simply won’t be able to count more in our everyday life if we keep on increasing our energy consumption at a local and global level.
You will be able to read here many other articles on energy conservation and its increased importance on the global scale as well as other hot topics. So, stay tuned !