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Global Warming: New Scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to review the state of knowledge about human‐induced climate change and assess possible responses. Most of its activities are conducted by three working groups, concerned respectively with scientific aspects of the climate system, with the vulnerability of human and natural systems to climate change, and with options for mitigating that change. The major IPCC reports have been highly detailed statements of scientific consensus on changes in the climate system, issued at roughly five‐year intervals. These reflect the input of some hundreds of scientists, with drafts scrutinized by expert reviewers, revised to attain consensus, and eventually approved (or “accepted”) by the full Panel. The first such assessment, published in 1990, was influential in formulating the Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted at the 1992 Rio conference. The second assessment report (SAR), Climate Change 1995, produced the widely cited estimate that global warming would raise average temperatures by 1°–3.5°C by 2100, with a “best estimate” of 2°C, and produce a sea‐level rise of 0.13 – 0.94 meters. That report took the further step of explicitly linking the warming to anthropogenic (human‐caused) emissions of greenhouse gases. Its cautious conclusion: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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