Climate science settled – Earth is warming, climate stability is a thing of the past, and humans are responsible

Elizabeth May

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all 900 pages - will be officially tabled on Monday.  Meanwhile, the key chapters and the Summary for Policy Makers were released on Friday.

In response, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “The heat is on.  We must act.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “This is yet another wakeup call: Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire .... the response must be all hands on deck. It’s not about one country making a demand of another. It’s the science itself, demanding action from all of us.”

President Obama’s science adviser, Dr. John P. Holdren, said the report proves “that the kinds of harm already being experienced from climate change will continue to worsen unless and until comprehensive and vigorous action to reduce emissions is undertaken worldwide.”

And, in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s science advisor said, ...... Oooops. Harper eliminated that post. So no comment from that corner.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq used the occasion of the IPCC report to attack the Liberals for inaction and to claim the NDP proposals would hurt the economy.  Unless media reports omitted something from her statement, she didn’t appear to say anything about the threat of global warming, or the significance of the report. Strangely, her so-called statement is not to be found on Environment Canada’s website.  There is no response to the IPCC report on Environment Canada’s website.  (Did she never make the statement? Or was it pulled?)

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the report, the anti-science spin machine disguising itself as “climate skeptics,” went into overdrive claiming the report would be a “climb down” – that scientists were struggling to explain why global temperatures had not increased as much as was predicted.

None of this was true.  None of the climate scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature, nor the IPCC assessments of all the research published, have ever predicted temperature increases on a year by year or even decade by decade basis.  So the fact that the all time highs of global average temperature have stayed at the all time high level, but in a fairly flat line since the late 1980s is not a reason to question the science.

In fact, the IPCC report found that:

“Each of the last three decades has been significantly warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.”

While the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers states: “Warming in the climate system is unequivocal.... unprecedented on time scales of decades to millennia.”

The desperation of the anti-science fossil fuel lobby is only matched by the negligence and gullibility of so much of the mainstream media that carried this nonsense in the last few weeks.

Did the scientists fail to notice that the vast majority of the heating caused by our burning of fossil fuels was more likely to go to the oceans and not increase global atmospheric temperatures year on year? 

Nope.  They saw that coming.  Just what is happening was anticipated in the science.  Check it out here from conclusions of a 1979 paper: 

It was also anticipated by the climate models that leading climate scientist Dr. Ben Santer discusses here: 

And was addressed almost two years ago by Kevin Trenberth and 36 other climate scientists:

And explained this summer to the BBC by James Hansen:

I look forward to the return of Parliament.  We have had a “wake up call.”  Will the Prime Minister continue to ignore the imperative for climate action?  Or will a commitment to a national carbon price, end to fossil fuel subsidies and strong national climate plan be in the Speech from the Throne?

IPCC summary report at a glance, in their own words