The United NationsÃ‚Â Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), a group of 2,000 scientists from 140 countries, has over the past several months been releasing volumes of its work on global warming. The report released Saturday is the synthesis of that work, a six-year endeavor to measure most of what is known about global warming and its effects on human health, the oceans, wildlife and how the world might adapt, among other topics. The first of the five-year assessments came out in 1990 and was used as the basis for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Some important findings from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
— Global warming is unequivocal. Temperatures have risen 1.3 degrees in the last 100 years. Eleven of the past 12 years are among the warmest since 1850. Sea levels have gone up by an average 0.07 of an inch per year since 1961.
— About 20 to 30 percent of all plant and animal species face the risk of extinction if temperatures increase by 2.7 degrees . If the thermometer rises by 6.3 degrees, between 40 and 70 percent of species could disappear.
– Human activity is largely responsible for warming. Global emissions of greenhouse gases grew 70 percent from 1970 to 2004. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is much higher than the natural range over the past 650,000 years.
— Climate change will affect poor countries most, but will be felt everywhere. By 2020, 75 million to 250 million people in Africa will suffer water shortages, residents of Asia’s large cities will be at great risk of river and coastal flooding, Europeans can expect extensive species loss, and North Americans will experience longer and hotter heat waves and greater competition for water.
Source: Associated Press
The IPCC report clearly shows that the effects of carbon-dioxide (CO2)Ã‚Â emmissions on the global environment are real.Ã‚Â The study reveals that the absorbtion ofÃ‚Â CO2 by our planet’s oceans impacts all levels of the environmental food chain.Ã‚Â If not haulted, the very basis for our existence faces almost certain collapse.Ã‚Â As with the dinosaurs, and more than 90% of global speciesÃ‚Â 65 million years ago, the failure of lifeforms at the bottom of the food chain inevitably leads the the collapse of higher species.
The oceans act like our lungs and absorb CO2. The problem is the amount of CO2 is too much for the oceans to handle and they are becoming acidic. When that happens the species that use calcium to survive die off.
The uptake of anthropogenic carbon since 1750 has led to the ocean becoming more acidic with an average decrease in pH of 0.1 units. Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations lead to further acidification. Projections based on SRES scenarios give a reduction in average global surface ocean pH of between 0.14 and 0.35 units over the 21st century. While the effects of observed ocean acidification on the marine biosphere are as yet undocumented, the progressive acidification of oceans is expected to have negative impacts on marine shellforming organisms (e.g. corals) and their dependent species.
Note to the Orange County Register’s Mark Landsbaum: We are one of those dependent species. We may be at the top of the food chain today, but if the chain fails we face the same fate as the dinosaurs.
While I am certain that people like Landsbaum will claim the report is based upon flawed or old data, I suggest you read the report summary and see for yourself.
The IPCC Report can be found at http://www.ipcc.ch/Ã‚Â