U.N. Panel 90% Certain Global Warming is Man-Made

A UN panel of 2,500 scientists from more than 130 nations said it was "very likely" -- or more than 90% probable -- that human activities led by burning fossil fuels explained most of the warming in the past 50 years. The scientists predicted more droughts, heatwaves, rains and a slow gain in sea levels that could last for more than 1,000 years.

The report predicts a "best estimate" that temperatures would rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 Celsius (3.2 and 7.8 Fahrenheit) in the 21st century. 

Other Highlights:

  • Temperatures rose 0.7 degrees in the 20th century and the 10 hottest years since records began in the 1850s have been since 1994. 
  • Greenhouse gases are released mainly by burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars.
  • The report projects a rise in sea levels of between 18 and 59 centimeters (7 and 23 inches) in the 21st century -- and said bigger gains could not be ruled out if ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland thaw. Rising seas threaten low-lying islands, coasts of countries such as Bangladesh and cities from Shanghai to Buenos Aires.
  • The report notes the high atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), and says that the growth rate in CO2 over the last 10 years was in excess of the natural rate seen over the last 650,000 years.
  • It is 125,000 years since the last period when polar regions were significantly warmer than at present.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) fourth report highlights the potentially devastating effects of global warming, and places the blame on humans.

Related Commentary:

Check Global Insight's detailed analysis of the issue at: UN Intergovernmental Report Warns Time Running Out to Tackle Climate Change

U.N. climate panel says warming is man-made - Reuters

Global warming melting the magic of the Swiss Alps - AFP

Climate change: In graphics - BBC

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