Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, has responded to publication of the fifth report addressing climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change saying:
“The message of this report is clear – the Earth’s climate has warmed over the last century and man-made greenhouse gases have caused much of that global warming. The gases emitted now are accumulating in the atmosphere and so the solutions must be set in motion today. The risks and costs of doing nothing today are so great, only a deeply irresponsible government would be so negligent.”
One of the key messages to come out of the report is that the global community must make major cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have a chance of controlling global warming to within 20C. The panel also says they are even more convinced than in previous reports that human activity plays a key role in climate change. For the UK, however, one of the key changes likely to affect our climate could be changes to ocean currents, particularly the Gulf Stream. Scientists claim that a slow-down in the Gulf Stream will have a big impact on Britain, causing cooling of about 1.8F (10C) and disrupting weather patterns. Some of the other key messages include:
- human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident in most regions of the globe;
- warming in the climate system is unequivocal;
- global surface temperature change for the end of the 21st century is projected to be likely to exceed 1.5°C relative to 1850 to 1900 in all but the lowest scenario considered, and likely to exceed 2°C for the two high scenarios; and
- projections of climate change are based on a new set of four scenarios of future greenhouse gas concentrations and aerosols, spanning a wide range of possible futures. The Working Group I report assessed global and regional-scale climate change for the early, mid, and later 21st century.
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