News / Science & Technology

Report Expected to Highlight Human Causes of Climate Change

A leaked climate change report finds it is extremely likely, 95 percent likely, that humans are major contributors to global warming.
A leaked climate change report finds it is extremely likely, 95 percent likely, that humans are major contributors to global warming.
Rosanne Skirble
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brings together hundreds of the world’s leading scientists to study the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, the impact of climate change on the environment and civil society and ways to mitigate its effects.

Since 1990 the IPCC has issued four assessments; the fifth is due out Friday, September 27. The IPCC reports help governments and civil society make more informed decisions on climate issues.

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report will be released in stages over the next year, beginning with an analysis of the physical science of climate change. The report is a consensus of how and why the climate is changing and how it might change in the future.

“It will look at changes in the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans, changes in storms, rainfall patterns, droughts, and other extreme weather events, and the consequences of changes in glaciers and ice sheets for sea level rise," said Alden Meyer, a policy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It will also assess the contributions to these changes from both human activities and natural factors.”

The report synthesizes peer-reviewed studies on climate change science released since the last IPCC report in 2007. It is an immense task that has engaged hundreds of authors, editors and reviewers from 47 countries. Meyer doesn’t expect any startling new findings.

“But it will validate and reinforce the findings of previous IPCC reports with probably an increased level of confidence in some areas,” Meyer said.  
    
James McCarthy played a lead role in the Third IPCC Assessment Report released in 2001. The Harvard oceanographer says that since the fourth report, climate science has advanced significantly. Much more is known, for example, about the heat content of the ocean, he says, as reflected in data from an immense array of floats in the world’s oceans.

“The ocean heat content has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years and although earlier data would have allowed us to make a statement like that, the precision, coming from these 3500 floats, allows us to say this with much greater confidence," McCarthy said.

Also, McCarthy adds, a lot more is now known about the accelerated loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica, and the projection of sea level rise connected to that loss.  

“If the ice melts on Greenland and Antarctica, how much will sea level rise? We’ll see now in the calculations for projected sea level rise that we didn’t see in 2007," he said. "So this will be a big improvement for people who are indeed looking with increasing concern at what might happen in coastal areas.”  

A draft version of the report leaked to the media last month states that the planet has warmed at a rapid pace since the 1950s and that it is extremely likely, 95 percent likely, that humans caused more than half of the observed changes, including melting snow and ice, sea level rise and climate extremes.
        
Climatologist Heidi Cullen with the non-profit group Climate Central says if that degree of certainty remains in the language of the report it will be significant.

“I think that with this report coming out, a statement like 95 percent certainty that human influence on climate is a result of our actions, that statement in and of itself, is quite profound," Cullen said. "We have altered the planet. Our actions have altered the planet, and we’re about as precise as you can get, as confident as you can get in that."

The Fifth Assessment Report will be released on Sept. 27 in Stockholm, followed by reports in 2014 on the impact of climate change and what can be done about it.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: scott from: philippines
September 21, 2013 6:20 AM
We are destroying the planet and their is NOTHING we can do at this point . The damage is done.


by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, T-site
September 20, 2013 8:36 PM
OK. We understand that the climate is changing at a rapid pace since the 1950s.
But what does it mean for the long term climate change? The world climate has been changing for 100 years, 1000 years and more. Maybe there might be some rapid changes in the past.
Does scientists proof there was no such a rapid change in the past?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid