As mentioned earlier on this blog, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a body composed of hundreds of scientists from around the world – released its much awaited report on the causes and consequences of global warming.
Today’s report is the group’s fourth report on global warming since the United Nations established the IPCC in 1988. However, the newest report is the first assessment in which the group has stated with near full confidence (they say “90% certainty”) that human activities are the main cause of global warming. From now on, when one hears the term “overwhelming scientific evidence” in a discussion about human activities and global warming, this report will be the point of reference.
Of course, the idea that humans cause global warming should be of little surprise to most people. But there are still some outfits that would like you to believe otherwise. Politically, the report is groundbreaking precisely because it should put to rest, once and for all, unhelpful debates over whether or not humans cause global warming. (Think: Galileo’s scientific confirmation of Copernicus’ theories about the earth and the sun.)
On the United Nations Foundation website, Richard Moss, director of the Climate Change program at the United Nations Foundation, discusses the significance of the just-released IPCC report. From 2000-2006, Moss directed the interagency US Climate Change Science Program Office, which was established to coordinate President Bush’s Climate Change Research Initiative. Earlier in his career, Moss worked with the IPCC, editing and authoring several reports. He is, briefly stated, one of the country’s foremost experts on climate change and public policy. You can listen to his podcast below.