Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary
Fourth Assessment of Climate Science
About the Cyberlibrary
The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site, and on other sites that are referenced here, is accurate, no liability for loss or damage resulting from use of this information can be accepted.
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the science of climate change concludes that it is "very likely" - a probability of greater than 90 per cent - that the rise in global air temperature since the mid-1900s has been caused by human activity. (For definition of phrases "likely", "very likely", see IPCC guide for authors.)
Data show that the oceans have warmed to a depth of at least 3,000 metres, contributing to sea-level rise. The report predicts that the average world temperature may rise by about three degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Sea level could rise by as much as 59 centimetres over that period, and some projections indicate the complete disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic by the year 2100. Heatwaves and periods of heavy rainfall are "very likely" to become more frequent but tropical cyclones, though more intense, may occur less often.
The report, the first volume of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment, was released on February 2nd in Paris, France. "Any notion that we do not know enough to move decisively against climate change has been clearly dispelled," said Yvo de Boer, head of the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"The big message... is the strength of the attribution of the warming to human activities," said Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, in the United States. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed to the "scientific consensus regarding the quickening and threatening pace of human-induced climate change" and called for the global response "to move much more rapidly as well, and with more determination."
IPCC Chair, Rajendra Pachauri, said that the report contained "significant advances" over the previous 2001 Assessment. Nevertheless, though the overall message is clear, some uncertainties remain in the detail. The role of clouds in reinforcing or offsetting greenhouse warming is not well-established, neither is the future of Antarctica. The report indicates that the Antarctic ice sheet may well remain too cold for widespread surface melting and could gain in mass as snowfall increases. The possibility of net loss cannot, however, be ruled out as dynamical ice discharge might dominate the mass balance.
The report sparked a range of comments in the days that followed its release. "The world's scientists have spoken," said Timothy E Wirth of the United Nations Foundation. "It is time now to hear from the world's policy makers. The so-called and long-overstated 'debate' about global warming is now over," he continued. "Faced with this emergency, now is not the time for half measures. It is the time for a revolution, in the true sense of the term," concluded French President Jacques Chirac.
There were dissenting voices. In the United States, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe described the IPCC assessment as "the corruption of science for political gain." William O'Keefe of the George Marshall Institute said that predictions of a "climate catastrophe in this century are unjustified."
In Lagos, Nigeria, Thompson Ayodele of the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis announced the launch of the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change to provide "more rational thinking" on the climate issue. "Many of the proposed policies are likely to harm a society like Nigeria more than the climate changes they are intended to control," he said.
The Summary for Policymakers can be downloaded (2.2Mb file).
General Electric plans to cut solar installation costs by half
Project 90 by 2030 supports South African school children and managers reduce their carbon footprint through its Club programme
Bath & North East Somerset Council in the United Kingdom has installed smart LED carriageway lighting that automatically adjusts to light and traffic levels
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Public Gardens Association are mounting an educational exhibit at Longwood Gardens showing the link between temperature and planting zones
The energy-efficient Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel is powered by renewable and sustainable sources, including integrated solar photovoltaics and guest-powered bicycles
El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, plans to generate 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources
The green roof on the Remarkables Primary School in New Zealand reduces stormwater runoff, provides insulation and doubles as an outdoor classroom
The Weather Info for All project aims to roll out up to five thousand automatic weather observation stations throughout Africa
SolSource turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics, harnessing the sun's energy for cooking and electricity for low-income families
The Wave House uses vegetation for its architectural and environmental qualities, and especially in terms of thermal insulation
The Mbale compost-processing plant in Uganda produces cheaper fertilizer and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
At Casa Grande, Frito-Lay has reduced energy consumption by nearly a fifth since 2006 by, amongst other things, installing a heat recovery system to preheat cooking oil