UN climate experts: Humans screwed up the earth

The U.N.'s climate panel, the IPCC, has released its latest findings on climate change. If it were a report card for the human race, we would be flunking.


Change in surface temperatures, 1901-2012. (Note: red means hotter) Source: IPCC via BBC

In a sentence: earth is warmer, there is less snow and ice, sea levels are up, amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is up.

Scientists are 95% certain that humans are the "dominant cause" of global warming since the 1950s.

"Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850"

Some talking points here, in numbers:
  • 800,000 years: Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now at levels "unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years."
  • 2 degrees C: Threshold at which a warming climate will begin to "wreak serious changes to the planet."
  • 0.3C to 4.8C: Expected rise in global temperatures by the end of the century.
  • 26-82cm: Expected rise in sea levels by the end of the century.
What they're saying:
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: "The heat is on. We must act."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: "This is yet another wake-up call: those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire."

Sources: The Guardian, BBC

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