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The hellish monotony of 25 years of IPCC climate change warnings

The latest blockbuster United Nations report on the impacts of Climate Change makes dire reading, just as the first one did almost a quarter of a century ago, except back then it was Global Warming.

Graham Readfearn — The Guardian — March 31, 2014

Entire island nations “rendered uninhabitable”, millions of people to be displaced by floods and rising seas, uncertainties over global food supplies and severe impacts on human health across the world.

The news from the United Nations on the likely impacts of climate change is dire, especially for the poorest people on the planet.

There will likely be more floods, more droughts and more intense heatwaves, says the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As human emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, natural ecosystems come under extreme stress with “significant” knock-on effects for societies.

“Changes in the availability of food, fuel, medicine, construction materials and income are possible as these ecosystems are changed,” says the report.

But in the words of that great British band The Smiths, you can now stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before.

That’s because all of the above comes not from today’s blockbuster IPCC report on the impacts of climate change, but from the first one started in 1988 and published in 1990. Much of the science it drew on was older still.

Just so we can calibrate our memories here, 1990 was the year Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, Nelson Mandela got out of jail and MC Hammer wore those pantaloons (U Can’t Touch This).

Now more than 25 years after scientists started compiling that first report, the latest report is similarly alarming – just with added impacts and greater certainty.

As The Guardian reports, the IPCC now says climate change is already cutting into food supplies and has the ability to fuel conflict.

So for the sheer hellish monotony of it all, let’s go through a quarter of a century of warnings from the IPCC about the impacts of human-caused climate change.

First Assessment Report – 1990

After 18 months work, the chairman of the IPCC working group looking at the impacts of climate change wrote the issue was “potentially the greatest global environmental challenge facing humankind”.

That first report was based on findings that if CO2 levels in the atmosphere were to double, this would deliver a global temperature rise of between 1.5C and 5C, with sea levels rising by about one metre by the end of the 21st century. The world’s polar regions would warm at double the rate.  Continue reading for subsequent IPCC reports and their striking similarities…..



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