Governments from around the world will meet on Monday in Stockholm to read the final version of a report from scientists around the world, which is expected to say that the evidence for climate change and its effects is stronger than ever.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 report will be published on Friday and will demonstrate the growing certainty in the scientific community that climate change is being driven by human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels
Every five years, the IPCC publishes a comprehensive review of the research on climate change. This will be its fifth series of reports, and leaked drafts have revealed a number of its alleged key points.
The drafts stated that scientists are 95% certain that the “human influence on climate caused more than half the observed increase in global average surface temperatures from 1951-2010.”
The review warns that global temperatures may rise by more than 2C compared with pre-industrial levels. It is feared that such a rise could cause global warming to spiral out of control.
Furthermore, it is expected that the scientists will say that time is running out for action that can prevent the most damaging effects of climate change.
In response to the meeting, WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative leader Samantha Smith said, “More than 800 scientists from around the world have contributed to writing a compelling scientific account of the state of the Earth.
“Our natural world is sending a distress signal and we’re ignoring it at our own peril. But if governments act now, comprehensively and immediately, they will be able to do something to change the dangerous path we are on.”
As the publication of the report approaches, experts have expressed concern that climate change sceptics in the media will attempt to misrepresent the findings.
A central issue of the report will be the explanation of the slowdown in temperature increases that have been recorded since 1998.
The last IPCC report predicted significant temperature rises throughout this period, and climate change sceptics have seized upon this mistake as evidence that the emission of greenhouse gasses is not increasing temperatures.
Scientists have attempted to explain the pause in a number of ways in the new reports, with many arguing that temperatures have continued to rise but that the heat has gone into the oceans.
Commenting in the Observer on Sunday, the economist and climate change expert Lord Stern said, “There are attempts by some politicians and lobbyists to confuse and mislead the public about the scientific evidence that human activities are driving climate change and creating huge risks.
“But the public should be wary of those who claim they know for certain that unmanaged climate change would not be dangerous. For they are not only denying 200 years of strong scientific evidence – the overwhelming view of the world’s scientific academies and over 95% of scientific papers on the subject – but they are often harbouring vested interests or rigid ideologies as well.”