Is there consensus in terms of the predictions and projections in relation to climate change? Introduction
Climate change is a present global phenomenon occurring at an unprecedented rate. The United Nations signified this in their establishment of the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) and their growing concern in the increasing anthropogenic activities emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Predictions and projections of future climate change have both variety and similarities from varying groups such as the IPCC, scientists, sceptics and organisations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the predicted and projected impacts of climate change have caused varied public perceptions across the globe. Predictions and Projections
The IPCC was established in 1988 when the United Nations requested a need for scientific assessments of the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environment and its social-economic consequences. Scientists volunteered as well as experts to write and review assessments on climate change which are then reviewed by representatives of the government. The IPCC have so far produced four reports, with a fifth expected in 2014. They are most commonly known for their projections in climate change, in which they produced a series of scenario- projections to explain climate change for the future. A projection is “a probabilistic statement that it is possible that something will happen in the future if certain conditions develop. In contrast to a prediction, a projection specifically allows for significant changes in the set of ‘boundary conditions’ that might influence the prediction.” (Pielke, 2006) The IPCC projects 4 emission scenarios for future global climate using the latest global climate model from the Hadley centre which takes into consideration; population, economic growth, energy technologies, demographics and international relations (IPCC, 2012). These calculations indicate the results depending on how society acts; the projections show a low-emission scenario, medium-low, medium-high and a high emission scenario. The IPCC has stated that even taking the low emission scenario, set out in their fourth report, global warming will still occur with global temperatures increasing by at least 2 degrees by 2080 (IPCC, 2012). They also concluded that summer temperatures will increase, for example, August 1995 when global temperatures were 3.4 degrees hotter than average, this is likely to be repeated every fifth year according to the medium-high emission scenario. Some results are much more drastic, such as that of snowfall reduction for the high emissions scenario, 60-80% less snow is expected to fall in the UK by 2080. However, with these projections of the IPCC, it is impossible to assign objective likelihoods as to which results will occur as they depend on the decisions made by society. Despite this, some degree of future climate change remains inevitable as the next 30-40 years is already determined by past and present emissions of greenhouse gases. Many of these global climate change predictions will hit some places much harder than others, where there are signs of food scarcity, water stress or poor resources, a global temperature rise of 2 degrees can cause famine and drought. This is summed up by Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) who states "If you are an African child born in 2007, by the time you are 50 years old you may be faced with disease and new levels of drought." The IPCC projections for climate change has also been strongly acknowledged by Ainun Nishat, a Bangladesh representative who, after reviewing the report, stated that the impacts on Bangladesh would include flooding and storms, drought, salinity and immense loss of land. He stressed that millions of Bangladeshis would lose their land and homes as a result of global warming’s impact on poverty and overcrowding....
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