ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Even More Certain

The fifth IPCC report should have silenced climate change sceptics.

If you give the doubters an inch, they will take a mile. And so, once again, climate sceptics have had a field day after the release of the United Nations’ (UN) fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month merely because it acknowledged that the rate of global warming was somewhat slower than what was predicted in its last report in 2007. That was enough to make the climate change deniers rubbish the entire science of climate change, seeing it as a conspiracy against the industrialised world, which is being held principally responsible for the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGS) through the profligate burning of fossil fuels. The fifth IPCC report, in fact, leaves little room for doubt that the world is heading towards a climate disaster. It might take 30 years or longer, but if the current rate of fossil fuel burning and emission of GHGS does not decrease drastically, the inevitability of global temperatures exceeding the two degrees celsius limit stares us in the face.

The latest IPCC report’s conclusion that the rate of warming has been slower than predicted previously is partly due to the fact that the absorption capacity of the oceans is still being studied. It is estimated that around one-third of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are absorbed by the oceans. Yet, a slower rate of warming does not mean there is a reversal. On the contrary, the new report is even more certain that the world is heading towards a climate catastrophe by stating that it is 95% certain that human activity is responsible for global warming. This conclusion has been reached after an exhaustive survey of studies on the science of climate change, assembled by 209 lead authors and 50 editors from 39 countries in a report exceeding 2,000 pages.

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