Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is nearing 100 percent certainty that human activity is the cause of most global warming and that sea levels could put parts of South Florida under water by 2100.
According to drafts of the report, as reported by Reuters and the New York Times, the panel of scientists said it’s 95 percent likely that human activities, primarily fossil fuel consumption, are the main cause of global warming since the 1950s.
The last time a report from the group was issued, the certainty was at 90 percent in 2007 and 66 percent in 2001. According to the report, a complete plan to reduce emissions would likely still yield a 10-inch se rise on top of the eight inches seen over the last century.
But, if emissions continue at the current pace, sea levels could rise anywhere from 21 inches to more than three feet by 2100.
Complicating the issue for local governments is the report said the core problem is that climate models can accurately predict with confidence at a global scale, but not necessarily at a local scale. That leaves a hole for governments and businesses to fill in.
According to the New York Times, the report said if carbon dioxide levels continued to double, the atmosphere will warm by at least 3.6 degrees, while an increase of five degrees farenheit is much more likely.
A global warming of five degrees Farenheit overall would likely have some areas of land warming by as much as 10 degrees. Either scenario could have a major impact on plant and animal life, plus impact where humans could still live on the planet.
Skeptics have pointed out that in recent years global warming has slowed. To a degree, that fact is true, as far as global surface temperature warming has slowed, but not the overall warming of the planet.
Overall, 97 percent of scientists who research climate change agree that it is happening and that human activity plays are causing the global warming issues.
The IPCC report comes just weeks after NOAA issued its 2012 State of the Climate report. The report said that 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record. NOAA found that the U.S. and Argentina had their warmest years on record in 2012.
In addition, sea ice in the Arctic shrank to its “smallest summer minimum extent” since satellite records began 34 years ago. NOAA said the Arctic is warming at a rate twice that of the lower latitudes and that the temperature of the permafrost in northern Alaska also reached record high temperatures.
NOAA reported that “major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2012.” NOAA estimated the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be 392.6 parts per million for the year and rose above 400 for the first time ever at some Arctic observation sites.
“Many of the events that made 2012 such an interesting year are part of the long-term trends we see in a changing and varying climate—carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting, and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place,” said acting NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D.
The United States has refused to sign on to several different global climate treaties, joining China. Both countires are two of the biggest producers of carbon dioxide and other pollution in the world.