Climate Change What Do Climate Scientists Say?. Is Climate Change Fact or Fiction?. The overwhelming majority of climate change scientists say that the globe is warming and that they are 90% certain that people are responsible.
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Unprecedented levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will lead to unprecedented global warming.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes some 2000 climate scientists from around the world, has concluded that if we continue on our current path, CO2 concentrations will reach 550 ppm by mid-century, which will in turn raise average global temperatures 3 degrees centigrade.
They also concluded that a 2-2.5 degrees centigrade increase could lead to intolerable impacts, such as a significant rise in sea level, flooding, more violent weather patterns, widespread drought, spread of disease, and massive loss of species.
We don’t know for sure because scientists are uncertain about how particular impacts of global warming will affect others. The interaction among effects may accelerate warming.
Example 1: The tundra in the Arctic and Siberia contains large amounts of carbon, which, if released through thawing, will form methane gas, which is a much more powerful source of atmospheric warming than CO2. This release of methane could significantly accelerate global warming.
Example 2: As the snow pack in Montana shrinks, less water flows down major rivers, such as the Missouri and Columbia, in the summertime. Farmers are forced to run pumps more to irrigate fields, and we lose some of our hydroelectric power from our dams (a clean source of electricity). This forces us to burn more fossil fuel (coal) to make more electricity, releasing more CO2 into the air.
A decade ago, scientists were predicting that the polar ice cap could melt sometime between 2040-2070 because of climate change.
Now, they are predicting that this could occur in a few short years. In the summer of 2007, ships were able to pass through parts of this frozen ice cap for the first time.
We don’t really know whether CO2 levels of 450 ppm or 550 ppm will be disastrous.
Perhaps the tiny minority of climate scientists who think we have little to be concerned about will turn out to be right.
However, taking the advice of the climate-change deniers is like doing the following: