Go to navigation (press enter key)Menu

Why Climate Change is an issue

In 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international organization established by the United Nations, released a new report detailing the current scientific knowledge on the causes and impacts of Climate Change. Here are some of the findings from the report.

  • About half of cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions between 1750 and 2010 have occurred in the last 40 years
  • Mitigation scenarios in which it is likely that the temperature change caused by anthropogenic GHG emissions can be kept to less than 2°C relative to pre‐industrial levels are characterized by atmospheric concentrations in 2100 of about 450 ppm CO2eq
  • Scenarios reaching atmospheric concentration levels of about 450 ppm CO2eq by 2100 (consistent with a likely chance to keep temperature change below 2°C relative to pre‐industrial levels) include substantial cuts in anthropogenic GHG emissions by mid‐century through large‐scale changes in energy systems and potentially land use
  • Delaying mitigation efforts beyond those in place today through 2030 is estimated to substantially increase the difficulty of the transition to low longer‐term emissions levels and narrow the range of options consistent with maintaining temperature change below 2°C relative to pre‐industrial levels (high confidence).
  • Effective mitigation will not be achieved if individual agents advance their own interests independently.
  • Issues of equity, justice, and fairness arise with respect to mitigation and adaptation.
  • Climate policy intersects with other societal goals creating the possibility of co‐benefits or adverse side‐effects. … Mitigation and adaptation can positively or negatively influence the achievement of other societal goals, such as those related to human health, food security, biodiversity, local environmental quality, energy access, livelihoods, and equitable sustainable development

IPCC, 2014: Summary for Policymakers, In: Climate Change 2014, Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer,  O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA