Scientific basis

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November 27, 2008



Dealing with climate change requires taking into account findings of natural scientists. There is hardly any doubt that global climate is changing, and that this change is mostly man-made. Scientists assume that a rise of earth’s temperature of more than 2°C above pre-industrial level will lead to a climate change that can no longer be controlled by men. The scientific forecasts are coming to a head and increasingly doubt whether it will still be possible to reach the 2 degree target. All the findings are going in the same direction: We need an ambitious post-Kyoto agreement.

More than 2 500 scientists discussed the latest findings of climate science at the “International Scientific Congress Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions” in Copenhagen between 10 12 March, 2009. The results exceed those of the last IPCC summary: Scientists expect much higher increases of temperature and sea level rise. The results are summarized in a sythesis report and are available at the website of the congress.


The members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) arrived to similar conclusions at their annual meeting in February, as reported by the Washington Post in the article Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates.


The fourth report of the IPCC was published in 2007 and shows that rapid reaction is required.


In his review from 2006, former World Bank chief economist Lord Nicholas Stern gives an economical estimate of potential climate change costs. Stern demonstrates the connection between carbon emissions and climate change. His conclusion: If the international community reacts quickly, international investment costs will amount to 350 million dollars. A business-as-usual scenario without climate investments could lead to overall costs between 15 and 150 billion dollars.


More studies

  • Max Planck Institute for Meteorology: Climate Projections for the 21st Century
  • NASA report: Dangerous Human-made Interference with Climate: A GISS ModelE Study
  • Global Carbon Project is an association of scientists dealing with global carbon emissions and their influence on the Earth’s atmosphere. Their projections exceed those of the IPCC. If they are fulfilled this will involve a temperature increase of 4 degrees.
  • At the website of the project Apollo Gaia, the “All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group” of the British House of Commons present their results.
  • The report of the Tyndall Institute pursues the question if it is still possible to achieve the aim of preventing more than 2 degrees of global warming?
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity" (TEEB) calculates the costs resulting from environmental degradation. The project on the initiative of Germany during the Presidency of the European Council shows: The damages resulting from deforestation could reach between 2 and 5 billion dollars annually.
  • Onnce a year Germanwatch compares the world’s biggest carbon emitters, showing the trend and level of emissions, and evaluating the countries’ climate policy.