Updated: Sep 25, 2020
This article is the second in a series focusing on explaining the causes and effects of climate change.
Since the year 1962, we have had irrefutable scientific proof of the increase in CO2 levels in the earth's atmosphere, and we know that this presents a proven risk of the greenhouse effect. But what have we been waiting for to act?
It was finally in 1988 that humanity woke up, when the G7 called for the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an intergovernmental body open to all UN member countries and made up of scientists contributing their expertise and representatives of participating states.
The mission of the IPCC was then defined as follows: "Assess, without bias and in a methodical, clear and objective manner, the scientific, technical and socio-economic information we need to better understand the risks associated with human-induced global warming, to identify more precisely the possible consequences of this change and to consider possible adaptation and mitigation strategies. It is not mandated to undertake research or to monitor climate variables or other relevant parameters. »
Following this crucial step, the IPCC published a first assessment report in 1990 concluding that temperatures have risen by 0.3 to 0.6°C over the last century. It also revealed that human emissions are adding to the natural complement of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this addition is expected to lead to global warming. Then again in 1995, a second assessment report stated that the body of evidence reviewed suggests "a discernible human influence" on the Earth's climate.
It took almost 100 years to obtain this first definitive statement that humans are responsible for climate change. A fine battle course.
History did not stop at this second study, however. Three other assessment reports have been published since 1995, in 2001, 2007 and 2014 respectively. The IPCC also regularly publishes special reports, including two in 2019 entitled "Climate Change and Land Cover" and "Oceans and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate". The Sixth Assessment Report is planned for 2022.
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