The Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) was created 25years ago. It is a scientific body put together by the United Nations (UN) to arrive at science based decision on how to control climate change.

The IPCC reports is prepared roughly once in six (6) years on an assessment of what is happening with climate change around the word. The latest of this report is the fifth assessment report. They arrived at this based on observations of the climate system, direct measurements and remote sensing from satellites.

The fifth assessment report states that continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Therefore, limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

The following was also noted in the report:

Carbon – The climate change or temperature change is related to the total carbon emission in the atmosphere. The key determinate to climate change is carbon. Co2 in d atmosphere has increased tremendously primary from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from land use change (deforestation)

Greenhouse gases – The atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases have increased since 1750 due to human activities and it has continued to increase. The present concentration of greenhouse gases is 391ppm.

Ocean – The Ocean has absorbed 30% of the emitted carbon dioxide and this has caused ocean acidification. There is increase in number of acidic oceans around the world and the global ocean will continue to warm.

The Carbon, water and biogeochemical cycles has been seriously affected by climate change.

The amount of snow and ice has diminished. The Arctic Ocean might be ice free before 2050.

The sea levels has risen – Sea level rising faster than predicted six years ago

Change in temperature – The surface temperature of the earth is getting high. The Last 30 years is likely the warmest 30 year period in the past 1400 years

The take home message from this report is that: –

  • Climate change is rapidly increasing and that urgent and severe action is called for.
  • 95% of climate change is caused by anthropogenic activities.

This report will aid government of 193 member country in planning how to manage climate change by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere. The IPCC report is not policy prescriptive, it is policy relevant.


(Summary for policy makers from working group I)

(Full IPCC report)