Published on 27 Sep 2013

‘Sure as dammit’ – IPCC’s latest verdict on global warming

At a time when public opinion and political action on climate change are at an all-time low, this report may come as something of a surprise.

We could be forgiven for thinking the potential dangers of a warming planet had started to go away – especially if you read certain newspapers.

But today’s report from the IPCC has never been more strongly worded on the evidence for a warmer future. This report, remember, is endorsed by 250 scientists around the world and all the governments that are parties to the IPCC.

Warming of the planet is now, in their words, unequivocal. And that we as humans are almost certainly to blame.

By increasing their estimate for certainty over whether mankind is behind global warming from 90 per cent to more than 95 per cent, the IPCC is getting as close as scientists will ever get to “sure as dammit”.

Today’s review doesn’t increase the estimate for the amount the planet will warm by the end of the century. That remains pretty much as it has done since the first IPCC report 23 years ago: a rise of between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees by 2100.

However, because many more observations have been made since then and many more climate models run, there is less doubt about the likelihood of those predictions.

It’s why the scientists can claim more confidence on perhaps their most important conclusion. This is the first report to put a scientific context around the politically agreed target of two degrees of warming by the end of the century.

The report shows that unless global carbon dioxide emissions start to go down almost immediately (which they’re not), it is more than likely we will exceeding that limit – and possibly overshoot it by a degree or more.

The report also gives short shrift to claims made by climate change contrarians that an undeniable “pause” in global air temperature increase since 1998 shows the problem of global warming has gone away or was over-egged.

The basic idea is as incontrovertible as any well founded scientific theory. That as we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, more heat gets trapped on earth. And the temperature keeps on gradually rising.

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Watch from the archive: Tom Clarke talks to scientists back in 2009 about “10 ideas to save the world”, from nuclear power to mirrors in space.

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6 reader comments

  1. toby parke says:

    I feel that the so called scientists have to justify earning their money by putting forward these potty ideas about humans causing Global Warming.

    No I’m not one these people who dismiss global warming out of hand. I believe there is Global warming.

    #It it to do with where we are in the Univerese and our position in relation to the sun.

    Since man has been on the Earth about 10,ooo,ooo years they have not in all that time put as much muck and gasses into the atmosphere as say One single major Volcano eruption.

    These so called brains have only carried out a minor part of the overall picture in relation to Global Warming. No one believes them anyway. It is just a way for Governments to collect extra Taxes by deception.

    What will they do if another Ice age starts next year???

    1. Andrew Harmsworth says:

      Toby, do you know how much gas comes out of “one single major volcano eruption”? And do you know how much gas comes out of the UK’s largest coal-fired power station each year?

      Please look at the numbers. You are entitled to your opinion, but it is only that – unless you back it up with evidence of your own from your own work, that can then be reviewed and verified by others. I know scientists who are working on small parts of the very big and complex picture that is climate science. They’re worked for decades gather evidence because that is what Science needs in order to help us come to conclusions. And the evidence that these people have collected is far from made up.

  2. Mike Haseler says:

    Before it was “very likely”. Now it is “extremely likely”. Another 15 years with no warming and they will be dead certain.

  3. Ian says:

    they can’t see the wood for the trees, putting the trees back is an inexpensive way of carbon capture.
    :)

  4. Colin Regan says:

    The ipcc’s greatest weapon was time 50 plus years would prove the model correct,we are nearly twenty years into their “scientific” projection and they are scrambling to prove a broken projection right. To steal a line from the movie “as good as it gets” ,”go sell crazy somewhere else were all stocked up here” thanks jack.

  5. Ashley Law says:

    So many lies, so many egos so ,so much money to be made by all vested interests.
    We are living in Blair’s 3rd way. It is now much like 1932.
    The media are collaborating with those that are spraying the planet every day (right now over London 08.45) with compounds of toxic heavy metals and polymers fibres.
    MP’s are squashed when they enquire.
    The criminals perpetrating this evil will be held to account one day as the truth always rises to the top.

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