Climate Change May Be Natural

"The Earth was evidently coming out of a relatively cold period in the 1800s so that warming in the past century may be part of this natural recovery." —John R. Christy, climate and atmospheric science expert at the University of Alabama.

Testimony of John R. Christy to the Committee on Environmental and Public Works, Department of Atmospheric Science and Earth System Science Laboratory, University of Alabama in Huntsville, July 10, 1997.

In the 1980s, largely because of antipollution efforts made by the United States and other industrialized nations, air pollution began to decrease and average global temperatures again began to rise. More research followed, including the collection of massive amounts of weather data by oceangoing ships and Earth-orbiting satellites, and consultation among scientists around the globe. As information about the climate increased, a growing number of scientists became more convinced of the existence and potentially serious impacts of global warming, and they began to warn policy makers of the need to address the problem.

The IPCC

Scientists' efforts to draw attention to climate change were aided in the summer of 1988, when temperatures around the globe soared to the highest levels on record, helping to focus public attention on the issue. That same year, the rising concerns about global warming prompted the world's governments to organize the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an independent panel of world climate scientists. Created as part of the UN, the IPCC was asked to examine the available scientific, technical, and socioeconomic evidence on human-induced climate change and provide advice to the international community about its impact and possible solutions.

In 1990, the IPCC published its First Assessment Report. The report concluded that increased greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity "will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth's surface."7 The 1990 report served as a scientific and technical basis for negotiating a UN agreement on global warming called the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in 1992, in which nations pledged to try to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions.

Several scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) answer questions on global warming during a press conference in 2001. During this session, chairman Dr. Robert Watson and other scientists warned that global warming will cause an increase in air pollution and other disasters, including droughts.

Several scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) answer questions on global warming during a press conference in 2001. During this session, chairman Dr. Robert Watson and other scientists warned that global warming will cause an increase in air pollution and other disasters, including droughts.

A Second Assessment Report was issued by the IPCC in 1995. At this time, the IPCC again concluded that the increase in global temperatures was likely caused, at least in part, by human activities. However, the report cautioned that it had "not been possible to firmly establish a clear connection between . . . regional [climate] changes and human activities"8 because of inadequate data about weather variability over the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the IPCC recommended that nations act to reduce emissions, and the report provided information that led to the 1997 adoption of the Kyoto Protocol—an international treaty that set binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse emissions by developed countries.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment