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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore! — has just released their 4th assessment report on global warming entitled "Climate Change 2007." Released just in time for next month’s world’s energy ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to begin talks on creating a global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. This has got to be among the most important government documents of the last decade and will hopefully move those policy makers to start addressing this dire situation NOW. Yesterday’s NY Times has more on the document’s release.
Some of the key findings from the Synthesis Report Summary for Policy MakerS (PDF) include:
- Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level;
- Global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions due to human activities have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of
70% between 1970 and 2004;
- There is high agreement and much evidence that with current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, global GHG emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades;
- Key vulnerabilities may be associated with many climate sensitive systems including food supply, infrastructure, health, water resources, coastal systems, ecosystems, global biogeochemical cycles, ice sheets, and modes of oceanic and atmospheric circulation.
The Fourth Assessment Report (as well as all of the previous reports) are available electronically from the IPCC Web site. This report is released in four distinct sections:
- Working Group I Report (WGI): The Physical Science Basis
- Working Group II Report (WGII): Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
- Working Group III Report (WGIII): Mitigation of Climate Change.
- The Synthesis Report (SYR): Summary for Policymakers (SPM).
Hardcopies of the full reports can be purchased from Cambridge University Press.