5 Things We’ve Learnt About Climate Change

In 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) established by the UN filed a report on climate change. The IPCC was set up to give world leaders facts about global warming so they can make informed decisions on how best to proceed in fighting (or ignoring) climate change. It was the first report published since 2007 and revealed some astounding things, 5 of which are pretty serious.

1. It’s unequivocal

Some of the changes we see in our current climate we haven’t experienced on this planet for hundreds of years; some changes haven’t been seen in thousands and some in hundreds of thousands of years. The climate is not equal to anything we have experienced in our lifetimes and it has changed extremely fast.

The Last three decades have seen warmer temperatures than have been recorded since 1850, and in the northern hemisphere, it’s been the hottest 30 years for 14 centuries.

2. The ‘Pause’ In Climate Change Never Happened

There was a media hype surrounding the ‘pause’ in climate change, and many jumped on this as ground to prove it doesn’t exist. For about 15 years there was a period where climate change wasn’t happening and everyone thought and was told we were essentially in the clear.

What actually happened between 1998 and 2011 is that temperatures consistently rose but only about a third to half as much as previous decades so the change was less significant. This doesn’t mean climate change wasn’t happening, it was just changing at a slower rate.

3. Greenhouse gases are now at levels that have not existed in at least 800,000 years!

All the changes to the earths climate over the past few decades have strongly correlated with an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Levels of CO2 in 2013 were 40% higher than during the industrial revolution, and methane was 150% higher. Changing of landscapes  due to deforestation and the increased use of fossil fuels is directly related to the increased amounts of gases in the atmosphere.

4. It’s all about us

The IPCC said ‘it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of climate change since the mid-20th Century. In the 2007 report they said the likelihood that humans were causing changes to the earths temperature and climate was about was 90% now they are reporting a 99-100% likelihood that climate change is our fault.

5. We are going to See More Frequent Extremes

Scientists have said there will be more bouts of extreme heat and fewer cold spells over the next 20-25 years. In this time surface temperatures may end up rising by between 0.3 and 0.7 degrees, which would have devastating effects on many species and ecosystems of the world.

And this isn’t even the worst part, according to the 2013 report, no matter what we do from this point, most aspects of climate change will persist for centuries, creating an ever increasing need for the invention of time travel.