UN panel blames mankind for global warming

UN panel blames mankind for global warming

UN panel blames mankind for global warming

Climate change is man-made to 95 percent, according to UN experts. AFP photo

A United Nations panel of experts met on Sept. 23 to review a draft report that raises the probability that climate change is man-made to 95 percent and warns of ever more extreme weather unless governments take strong action.

Scientists and officials from more than 110 governments began a four-day meeting in Stockholm to edit and approve the 31-page draft that also tries to explain a “hiatus” in the pace of global warming this century despite rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will go through the document line by line and present it on Sept. 27 as a main guide for governments, which have agreed to work out a United Nations deal by the end of 2015 to fight global warming.

“I expect the world will understand the simplicity and the gravity of the message that we provide,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, said after the opening session.

Climate change “will transform our lives, our economies and indeed the way our planet will function in the future,” Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme, told delegates.

A shift towards a greener economy, based on renewable energies, would hold multiple benefits for society, he said.

Main cause since 1950s

IPCC drafts seen by Reuters say human activities, primarily burning fossil fuels, are “extremely likely” - at least a 95 percent probability - to be the main cause of global warming since the 1950s.

That is up from “very likely,” or at least a 90 percent probability, in the last report in 2007 and 66 percent in 2001, draining hopes that natural variations in the climate might be the cause.

“There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level, and changed some climate extremes,” the draft says of man-made warming.

Most impacts are projected to get worse unless governments cut greenhouse gas emissions sharply, it says. The report, by 259 authors in 39 countries, is the first of four due in the next year about climate change by the IPCC.