“What We Know” is a clearly written statement for lay people by climate scientists who are part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Their main points:
- Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
- We are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts.
- The sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. And there is much we can do. Waiting to take action will inevitably increase costs, escalate risk, and foreclose options to address the risk. The CO2 we produce accumulates in Earth’s atmosphere for decades, centuries, and longer. It is not like pollution from smog or wastes in our lakes and rivers, where levels respond quickly to the effects of targeted policies.
For me the sentence in bold above has particularly galvanized me. Thinking as a physician, I liken this to a medication that has severe side-effects and lasts potentially longer than—centuries?! Very bad for human bodies and much else on earth. It is energizing me to think about and do all I possibly can to minimize putting any more CO2 into our atmosphere. Methane, though, less common than CO2, stays in the atmosphere for a mere (!) 25-30 years.
This links to the 40 page PDF Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis paper meant especially for policymakers. It is very readable and the last half or so consists largely of graphs and charts. This links to the longer version and is a 116 page Summary for those who wish to delve more deeply.
Although the IPCC November 2014 reports are billed as being up to date, in fact since they are consensus driven, their cutoff date was end of 2013. This World Resources Institute (WRI) article adds several important changes that have been noted since then in the areas of “sea level rise, extreme weather and climate events, ecosystems, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and temperature.”
Greenwriters is a fledgling website that I am working on with a few others. Our aim is to educate ourselves and other lay people about Climate Issues, as well as offer ideas for working on these issues in a variety of ways, hoping that nearly everybody can find something that appeals to them or be inspired to find a new way (and let us know!). We also plan to increasingly offer photographs, poetry and other examples of what we love and want to protect on earth.