Sixth Assessment on Climate Change: Scarier than the Last

The United Nations’ IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released their sixth assessment on the climate crisis. No surprise, it is even scarier than all the previous reports. From 14,000 studies reviewed by hundreds of the world’s top scientists, the message is:

1. Human influence has unequivocally warmed the planet.

2. Climate science is getting better and more precise. Computer models that simulate the climate have also greatly improved, and there is more computer power to run these simulations faster so that they can be repeated over and over. 

3. We are locked into 30 years of worsening climate impacts, no matter what the world does. 

4. Climate changes are happening rapidly. Each of the past four decades have been successively warmer than the previous one.

5. There is still a window in which humans can alter the climate path. Under most of the scenarios, warming will continue well beyond 2040, through the remainder of the century. In the worst cases, where the world does little to reduce emissions, temperatures by 2100 could be 3 to 6 degrees Celsius (5.5 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. That would have catastrophic consequences. But aggressive, rapid and widespread emissions cuts, beginning now, could limit the warming beyond 2050. 

Read the full IPCC report here.

Read the recent New York Times story on this report.

Photo credit: NASA