Study pinpoints humans as the cause of global warming
According to a new report, global warming is fact and not fiction.
The “IPCC Fourth Assessment Report” released today by an international team of scientists, researchers, and climatologists verifies the deliberation is over. Global warming is here and will only get worse with time.
The study, compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been assembled by over 2,500 scientific reviewers from over 130 countries and took six years to complete, according to the panel’s Web site: www.ipcc.ch.
In 2001, the panel released a report stating it is “likely” humans are responsible for global warming. This year, delegates agreed to use the term “very likely.” This indicates there is a 90 percent chance humans have caused global warming, said a release by the Associated Press.
Some experts went as far as to suggest the term “virtually certain.” This would guarantee with 99 percent accuracy that humans are to blame, the report also said.
A press release from the IPCC Web site said the report will include significantly advanced observations of the climate system, present new projections of future global climate change, discuss some of the primary factors that drive climate change, and assess the evolution of the climate over time.
Rob Hall, Energy Program Director for CU’s Environmental Center, said the scientists behind this study are concerned.
“We’re seeing a lot more evidence now than scientists expected we would see,” Hall said. “The pace at which these things are happening is a lot quicker, a lot sooner than they originally thought.”
From 1901 to 2005 the average global temperature rose 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a separate AP article.
Last year was the hottest year in U.S. history, and 1998 and 2005 were the two warmest years on record for the world.
In recent years ice sheets in Greenland melted drastically. Sea levels rose higher and at a rate faster than ever before.
“The things you are seeing now– the violent storms, the droughts, the caps melting– these are all the result of carbon dioxide 50 years ago,” Hall said. “The problem is going to get worse. It’s not like if we just stopped producing all these gases today the problem would just go away.”
David Noone, an assistant professor involved with global climate modeling at CU, said the report is not a recommendation on how policy-makers should react to the problem. He said it is just “an objective synthesis of pre-existing literature.”
Noone said scientists and researchers have done their part. Responsibility is now in the hands of politicians.
“The question of climate and climate change is largely a societal issue,” Noone said. “How policy-makers make use of scientific information and insight is a question of social science, a question of politics.”
Students at CU have mixed feelings about the report and global warming in general.
Peter Pavlidakis, a sophomore psychology major, said that although humans may be assisting environmental change, climate shifts are just a natural phenomenon.
“I’m not a qualified scientist, but look at the ice age,” Pavlidakis said. “It wasn’t our fault then. These things just happen over time.”
Sean Stephens, a sophomore business major, agreed.
“My car is covered in snow and my house is freezing,” Stephens said. “Is this global warming? Even if there was a problem, we would be able to fix it. Desperation breeds innovation.”
Kate Hilsen, a sophomore international affairs major, said global warming is a problem and will only get worse with time.
“I think it definitely is a threat, but people don’t really care about it now because it isn’t immediate,” Hilsen said. “If people were more aware of the problem, we could do more to avoid it.”
Like Hilsen, Hall believes education is essential in the fight against global warming.
“It’s hard to motivate people to take action on climate change when they don’t know how they are causing it,” he said. “Still, it’s only going to get hotter. Believe me, it can get depressing looking at this stuff all day long.”
Jerry Mahlman, a leading climatologist who works in Boulder, was one of the main contributors to the study. He was unable to be reached for comment.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Brian Beer at firstname.lastname@example.org.