Feeds

IPCC report: no surprises, not much hope either

The climate is a-changin'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Humanity is "very likely" to blame for global warming and, regardless of what action is taken now, recent increases in atmospheric carbon will have a profound effect on the planet.

In the first of a series of four reports to be published this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has fingered humans as the culprits in global warming, with a probability of more than 90 per cent.

Climate Change 2007: the Physical Science Basis warns that by the end of this century we can expect sea levels to rise by between 28cm and 43cm, that increased temperatures (between 1.4°C and 4°C globally) would lead to more frequent and powerful tropical storms.

Co-author Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis for the National Centre for Atmospheric Research said the warming of the planet "is not something you can just stop", and that in 100 years time the planet will have a very different climate.

But Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society stressed that this is no carte blanche for politicians to elect to do nothing.

He said: "The IPCC strongly emphasises that substantial climate change is inevitable – and we will have to adapt to this. It also highlights the enormous cost of not doing anything. This should compel all of us – world leaders, businesses and individuals – towards action rather than the paralysis of fear."

The report, published today, is not the full scientific report: that is not expected until the summer. It is, in fact, a 21 page summary written by scientists and politicians and designed to inform policy makers.

Register readers inform us that the science "has yet to be edited to agree with the conclusions", but we detect a slightly sarcastic undertone in their typing.

Benny Peiser, a professor of anthropology at Liverpool University, and a vocal critic of the consensus view of global warming, said that regardless of the conclusions, there were still massive problems to be overcome before the issues raised in the report could be tackled.

He told us: "What the report won't be able to do, however, is to come up with any consensus on what to do about climate change. The economics of climate change and climate policy remain - as ever - the most contentious problem."

A paper published in the journal Science compared predictions about global temperatures from the 2001 IPCC report with what has actually happened. The IPCC said global temperatures would rise between 0.25°C and 0.35°C; they have actually risen by 0.33°C, close to the top end of the predicted range.

Meanwhile, sea level has risen much faster than predictions, leading some to speculate that the IPCC scientists have been too conservative in their forecasting so far. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.