The Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued the third and final report in its current (Fifth) assessment of the state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change.
Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change deals with the options for mitigating climate change and the urgency for doing so.
The report notes that global greenhouse gas emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.
Climate experts advocate the urgency of limiting the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, noting in this report that only “major institutional and technological change will give a better than even chance that global warming will not exceed this threshold.” Beyond that point, catastrophic consequences must be anticipated. One co-chair of the report’s working group comments: “There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual.”
The Panel’s media statement says that “to have a likely chance of limiting the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius, means lowering global greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70 percent compared with 2010 by mid-century, and to near-zero by the end of this century.”
This NY Times article provides an excellent overview of the latest report and its implications. From that article:
“Though it remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, only an intensive push over the next 15 years to bring those emissions under control can achieve the goal, the committee found.
“We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”
For serious students, this latest report, as well as the two previous reports in this series — Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability and Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis — can be found on the IPCC website here.
15 years … It’s wake-up time!
P.S. Or we can close our eyes and click our heels together three times … and hope our children and grandchildren forgive us.