We know beyond reasonable doubt that the Earth’s climate is warming. The rate of warming from the 1950s up to today is unprecedented compared to previous decades and millennia. These are the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report, a collective study by hundreds of eminent scientists to assess the latest evidence on climate trends and efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. More than 180 governments have endorsed their conclusions.
What is causing this warming? The IPCC finds it is extremely likely that humankind’s production of greenhouse gases is to blame: there is 95% scientific certainty.
The IPCC warns that continued increases in global emissions at this rate could lead to rises in the average global temperature of between 2.6 – 4.8 degrees Centigrade by the end of the 21st century. Global warming of this scale would change our natural environment profoundly, with more negative than positive effects on societies, economies and cultures. Even if the global community reduces greenhouse gas emissions now, the climate will continue to change as there is some momentum in the system based on past emissions. The world faces an era of ‘committed climate change’ for the next few decades, during which people will live with rising risks.
CDKN has been heavily involved in ‘digesting’ the IPCC’s science and making the key facts accessible and usable by diverse audiences. Explore here some of our communications toolkits to help you understand and share the key messages of the IPCC’s work.