Deniers of unequivocal climate change, beware. The proof you've been looking for is hot off the presses.
Reflecting the consensus of the international scientist community about Earth’s changing climate, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began rolling out its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).
It makes for comprehensive and scary reading. Basically, all indicators of the Earth’s climate system—carbon emissions, surface temperatures, ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, sea levels and ice cover—have been worsening, according to actual science. (You can find the best summaries at Grist and ClimateProgress.)
If you’re only interested in the elevator pitch of the most important facts, you’re in luck. Here are the 32 Most Important Words in the IPCC Report:
”Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
It really is that simple. Or, it should be. Politics and economics have complicated it. Climate change denial is all too pervasive in Washington.
Even among those who do acknowledge climate change, it has yet to translate into an urgent political action. Someone making a casual read of America’s elected representatives' priorities couldn't help but sense that, despite the Obama administration’s best efforts, common sense actions continue to face extreme resistance.
I’ve written in the past about the difficulties of getting traction to tackle climate change within the U.S. Getting global agreement on the necessary steps is similarly elusive.
Past reports have defended the overwhelming scientific consensus that the world is warming and this warming is directly attributable to the actions of humans.
Humans need to take immediate action to slow this warming trend, otherwise the changes will radically alter our quality of life.
Yet, as the IPCC report makes clear, we continue to ignore this at our own peril. Those 32 words should serve as a clarion call for all political leaders to seriously address the far-reaching (and possibly radical) steps we need to take to mitigate and adapt to the coming changes. The last thing we need is another report to gather dust on the shelf.
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