The UN climate panel of 2500 scientists from more than 130 countries, has issued its most comprehensive warning yet about the scale and speed of global warming. It has raised its estimation of our effect on the phenomenon, from a 66 to a 90 percent probability that human activity is “very likely” to contribute to global warming.
Susan Solomon is the joint president of the conference: “You can see that the warming has been able to be attributed to human activity and, to direct you to the report, we can only say that it’s likely that there is a discernable contribution; I hasten to add we are not saying that all of the warming over every continent is due to human activity, we are saying it’s likely that there is a discernable influence on each of the six continents”.
The last report was only six years ago, when the scientists could only say it was “likely” our burning of fossil fuels had changed things dramatically over the last 50 years. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are now at a 650- 000 year high. In a worst-case scenario temperatures could jump by more than six degrees by the end of the century, although the panel admits that how this influences the melting of polar ice is impossible to predict as the polar systems are still not understood well enough.
People in Djakarta, currently suffering serious floods, will note sea levels appear to be rising even faster than previously predicted by the panel, which started working in 1988. It delivers three more reports this year in what it says is the “definitive” study of global warming.