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Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans, which started to increase in the

late 19th century and is projected to keep going up. Since the early 20th century, Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), [2] with about two thirds of the increase occurring since 1980. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and scientists are more than 90% certain that most of it is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels. These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all the [7][A] major industrialized nations. Climate model projections are summarized in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) by theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They indicate that during the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 2.9 °C (2 to 5.2 °F) for their [8] lowestemissions scenario and 2.4 to 6.4 °C (4.3 to 11.5 °F) for their highest. The ranges of these estimates arise from the use of models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas [9][10] concentrations. An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and [11] pattern of precipitation, and a probable expansion of subtropical deserts. Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with continuing retreat of glaciers,permafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects of the warming include more frequent occurrence ofextreme-weather events including heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall, species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes, and changes in crop yields. Warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe, with projections being more robust in [12] some areas than others. If global mean temperature increases to 4 °C above preindustrial levels, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world. [13] Hence, theecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved. Most countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate [14] Change(UNFCCC), whose ultimate objective is to prevent "dangerous" anthropogenic (i.e., [15] human-induced) climate change. Parties to the UNFCCC have adopted a range of policies [16]:10[17][18][19]:9 designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to assist in adaptation to global [16]:13[19]:10[20][21] warming. Parties to the UNFCCC have agreed that deep cuts in emissions are [22] required, and that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to [22][B] the pre-industrial level. A 2011 report of analyses by the United Nations Environment [23] [24] Programme and International Energy Agency suggest that efforts as of the early 21st century to reduce emissions may be inadequately stringent to meet the UNFCCC's 2 °C target.

behind 1998 with 2003 and 2010 tied for third warmest year. The rate of warming over the last half of that period was almost double that for the period as a whole (0.52 °C) and 1998 [34] (+0.02 °C per decade). Estimates by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) show 2005 as the second warmest year. estimated to account for less than 0.. widespread melting of snow and ice. with theinstrumental temperature record overlaid in black. Climate proxies show the temperature to have been relatively stable over the one or two thousand years before 1850. The urban heat island effect is very small..13±0.22 and 0. rose by0..74±0. and rising global average sea [25][26][27] level.. is at least ten times larger than the [33] differences between these three years.07±0.03 °C per decade. The Earth's average surface temperature.13 and 0. although the differences between the three years are not statistically significant.18 °C over the period 1906–2005.22 °C (0. “The 2010 nominal value of +0. versus 0. Temperatures in the lower troposphere have increased between 0. with regionally [29] varying fluctuations such as theMedieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.51 °C).4 °F) per decade since 1979. according to satellite temperature measurements. each smoothed on a decadal scale.Observed temperature changes Main article: Instrumental temperature record Two millennia of mean surface temperatures according to different reconstructions from climate proxies. “the error estimate for individual years . widespread instrumental measurements became available in the late 19th century. expressed as a linear trend.” [28] . Evidence for warming of the climate system includes observed increases in global average air and ocean temperatures. however. exceeding [30][31][32] 1998 by a few hundredths of a degree.002 °C of warming per decade since 1900. Recent estimates by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the National Climatic Data Center show that 2005 and 2010 tied for the planet's warmest year since reliable.53 °C ranks just ahead of those of 2005 (+0.” The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) statement on the status of the global climate in 2010 explains that.

a further warming of [42] about 0. On the low swing of the oscillation. Initial causes of temperature changes (external forcings) . 11 were the years from 2001 to 2011. Over the more recent record.25 °C per decade against 0. land temperatures have increased about [39] twice as fast as ocean temperatures (0. 2011 was the warmest "La Niña year" in the period from 1950 [38] to 2011. Climate commitment studies indicate that even if greenhouse gases were stabilized at 2000 levels. 2011 as an La Niña year was cooler but it was still the 11th warmest year since records began in 1880.NOAA graph of Global Annual Temperature Anomalies 1950–2011. The Northern Hemisphere warms faster than the Southern Hemisphere because it has more land and because it has extensive areas of seasonal snow and sea-ice cover subject to ice-albedo feedback. and the strongest El Niño in the past century occurred during [35] that year. and was close to 1997 which was not at the lowest point of the cycle. Although more greenhouse gases are emitted in the Northern than Southern Hemisphere this does not contribute to the difference in warming because the major greenhouse gases persist [41] long enough to mix between hemispheres. showing the El Niño-Southern Oscillation Temperatures in 1998 were unusually warm because global temperatures are affected by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Temperature changes vary over the globe.9 °F) would still occur.5 °C (0. 2010 was also an El Niño year. Ocean temperatures increase more slowly than land temperatures because of the larger effective heat [40] capacity of the oceans and because the ocean loses more heat by evaporation. Since 1979. Of the 13 warmest years since 1880. Global temperature is subject to short-term fluctuations that overlay long term trends and can temporarily mask them. The thermal inertia of the oceans and slow responses of other indirect effects mean that climate can take centuries or longer to adjust to changes in forcing. The relative stability in temperature from 2002 to 2009 is [36][37] consistent with such an episode.13 °C per decade).

shows the long-term increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations from 1958–2008. each year's maximum occurs during the Northern Hemisphere's late spring. . The rest of this increase is [56] caused mostly by changes in land-use. carbon dioxide (CO2). leading to increased radiative forcing from CO 2. tropospheric ozone. Attribution of recent climate change focuses on the first three types of forcing. and Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere The greenhouse effect is the process by which absorption and emission of infrared radiation by gases in the atmosphere warm a planet's lower atmosphere and surface. such asradiative forcing due to changes in atmospheric composition (mainly greenhouse gas concentrations). changes in solar luminosity. Clouds also affect the radiation balance through cloud forcings similar to greenhouse gases. Fossil fuel burning has produced about three-quarters of the increase in CO2 from human activity over the past 20 years. methane (CH4). Energy exchanges are expressed in watts per square meter (W/m 2). and ozone (O3). and variations in Earth's [43]:0 orbit around the Sun. Climate responds to several types of external forcing. This graph. CFCs andnitrous oxide. and declines during its growing season as plants remove some atmospheric CO2. Greenhouse gases Main articles: Greenhouse gas. Less direct geological evidence indicates that CO 2 values higher than this were [55] last seen about 20 million years ago. which causes 9–26%. Naturally occurring amounts of greenhouse gases have a mean warming effect of about 33 [46][C] °C(59 °F). methane. which causes 3–7%. The concentrations of CO2 and methane have increased by 36% [50] and 148% respectively since 1750. The major greenhouse gases are water vapor. which causes about 36–70% of the greenhouse effect. the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice [51][52][53][54] cores. which causes 4– [47][48][49] 9%. and earth's surface. Greenhouse effect. volcanic eruptions.Greenhouse effect schematic showing energy flows between space. Orbital cycles vary slowly over tens of thousands of years and at present are in an overall cooling trend which would be expected to lead towards an ice age. These levels are much higher than at any time during the last 800. It was proposed [45] by Joseph Fourierin 1824 and was first investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.000 years. but the 20th [44] century instrumental temperature record shows a sudden rise in global temperatures. the atmosphere. External forcing refers to processes external to the climate system (though not necessarily external to Earth) that influence climate. Monthly CO2 measurements display seasonal oscillations in an upward trend. known as the "Keeling Curve". particularlydeforestation. Radiative forcing. Human activity since the Industrial Revolution has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

e. Emission scenarios. have been used to produce estimates of how atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases might change in the future. including land-use change. models suggest that by the year 2100. sociological. Particulates and soot . i. Reduced stratospheric ozone has had a slight cooling influence on surface temperatures. Total greenhouse gas emissions in 2005. [63][64] emissions are reduced. while in a few. This is an increase of 90–250% above the concentration in the year 1750. Using the six IPCC SRES "marker" scenarios. the relationship between the two is not strong.. and will not limit carbon [65] emissions in the 21st century. gross domestic product per capita and population growth were the main drivers of increases in greenhouse gas [57] emissions. Emissions can be attributed to different regions. the [67][68] destruction of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons. including land-use change. In most scenarios. have been projected that depend upon uncertain economic. Although there are a few areas of linkage.Per capita greenhouse gas emissions in 2005. and natural [62] developments. combined with modelling of the carbon cycle. technological. Over the last three decades of the 20th century. emissions continue to rise over the century. Emissions scenarios. while increased tropospheric ozonehas had a [69] somewhat larger warming effect. including land-use change. CO2 emissions are continuing to rise due to the burning of fossil fuels and land-use [58][59]:71 change. Attribution of [60][61]:289 emissions due to land-use change is a controversial issue. Fossil fuel reserves are abundant. the atmospheric concentration of CO 2 could range between 541 and 970 [66] ppm. The two figures opposite show annual greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2005. The popular media and the public often confuse global warming with ozone depletion. estimates of changes in future emission levels of greenhouse gases.

changes in particulate concentrations will only delay [72] climate changes due to carbon dioxide. Radiative forcing due to particulates is temporally limited due to wet deposition which causes them to have an atmospheric lifetime of one week. These clouds reflect solar radiation [74] more efficiently than clouds with fewer and larger droplets. In addition to their direct effect by scattering and absorbing solar radiation. particulates have [73] indirect effects on the radiation budget. In isolated areas with high soot production. This effect also causes droplets to be of more uniform size. particularly in Asia. which exerts a cooling effect by increasing the reflection of incoming sunlight. Indirect effects of particulates represent the largest uncertainty in radiative [76] forcing. Global dimming.Ship tracks over the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of the United States. are most pronounced in the tropics and sub-tropics. The climatic impacts from particulate forcing could have a large effect on climate through the indirect effect. The influences of particulates. has partially counteracted global warming from 1960 to the present. while the [79] effects of greenhouse gases are dominant in the extratropics and southern hemisphere. Carbon dioxide has a lifetime of a century or more. including black carbon. When deposited. which heats the atmosphere and cools the surface. especially on glaciers or on ice in arctic regions. which reduces growth of raindrops and [75] makes the cloud more reflective to incoming sunlight. such as rural India. known as the Twomey effect. Soot may cool or warm the surface. as much as 50% of surface warming due to greenhouse gases may be masked by atmospheric brown [77] clouds. Satellite observations of Total Solar Irradiance from 1979–2006. Indirect effects are most noticeable in marine stratiform clouds. the lower [78] surface albedo can also directly heat the surface. known as the Albrecht effect. a gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's [70][dated info] surface. The effects of the products of fossil fuel combustion – CO2 and aerosols – have largely offset one another in recent decades. depending on whether it is airborne or deposited. The main cause of this dimming is particulates produced by volcanoes and human made pollutants. Sulfates act as cloud condensation nuclei and thus lead to clouds that have more and smaller cloud droplets. Atmospheric soot directly absorb solar radiation. so that net warming has been due to the increase in non-CO2 greenhouse gases such [71] as methane. and as such. and have very little radiative effect on convective clouds. Solar activity Main articles: Solar variation and Solar wind .

Solar Cycle 25 is due to start in 2020. The effect of changes in solar forcing in recent decades is [81] uncertain. Radiosonde (weather balloon) data show the stratosphere has cooled over the period since observations began (1958). an increase in solar activity should warm the stratosphere while an increase in greenhouse gases [43] should cool the stratosphere. Greenhouse gases and solar forcing affect temperatures in different ways. while others studies [43][82][83][84] suggest a slight warming effect. While there is not yet a definitive link between solar sunspot activity and global temperatures. because this provides unequivocal evidence that the sun is not the dominant driver of global warming. The fact we still see a positive imbalance despite the prolonged solar minimum isn't a surprise given what we've learned about the climate system.. though there is greater uncertainty in the early radiosonde record. which have been available since 1979. the scientists conducting the solar activity study believe that global [90] greenhouse gas emissions would prevent any possible cold snap. also show [85] cooling. Satellite observations. proposed by Henrik Svensmark. but small. he supports the theory advanced by "nearly all climate scientists" including [91] theIPCC. and the change in the second quantity in turn changes the first. director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies James Hansen says that the sun is not nearly the biggest factor in global warming.[91] “ ” In line with other details mentioned above. Studies in 2011 have indicated that solar activity may be slowing. with some studies showing a slight cooling effect. The influence of cosmic rays on cloud cover is about a factor of 100 lower than needed to explain the observed changes in clouds or to be a significant contributor to [89] present-day climate change. is that magnetic activity of the sun deflects cosmic rays that may influence the generation of cloud condensation nuclei and thereby [86] affect the climate.Solar variations causing changes in solar radiation energy reaching the Earth have been the [80] cause of past climate changes.. Discussing the fact that low amounts of solar activity between 2005 and 2010 had hardly any effect on global warming. It is even possible that Sol could be heading towards another Maunder Minimum. Hansen says it is more evidence that geen house gases are the largest culprit. and that the next solar cycle could be delayed.But it's worth noting. Positive feedback increases the change in . Other research has found no relation between warming in recent decades [87][88] and cosmic rays. A related hypothesis. To what extent is not yet clear. While both increased solar activity and increased greenhouse gases are expected to warm the troposphere. but may be delayed to 2022 or even longer. that is. Feedback Main article: Climate change feedback Feedback is a process in which changing one quantity changes a second quantity.

the team made three extremely conservative assumptions: (1) that policymakers will embrace the A1B scenario instead of the A1FI scenario. the indirect effects [97] would be 400% of the warming from the methane alone. The main negative feedback is radiative cooling through theStefan–Boltzmann law. which increases as the fourth power of temperature. potentialtipping points may exist.2-fold increase. such as Arctic methane release and icealbedo feedback. In 2011. even if policymakers attempt to reduce human emissions from the A1FI scenario to [93] the A1B scenario. (2) that all of the carbon would be released as carbon dioxide instead of methane. Consequentially. Importantly. permafrost carbon forcing (PCF) is irreversible. Once initiated. Other research published in 2011 found that increased emissions of methane could instigate significant feedbacks that amplify the warming attributable to the methane alone. These very conservative permafrost carbon dioxide emissions are equivalent to about 1/2 of all carbon released from fossil fuel burning since the dawn of the Industrial Age. but are instead emergent properties that result from the interactions of basic dynamical and thermodynamic processes. A wide range of potential feedback processes exist. For example. IPCC 2007's temperature projections did not take any of the permafrost carbon [93][94] emissions into account and therefore underestimate the degree of expected climate change. a joint study by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated the additional greenhouse gas emissions that would emanate from melted and decomposing permafrost. Feedback is important in the study of global warming because it may amplify or diminish the effect of a particular process. Climate models Main article: Global climate model . [95] and is enough to raise atmospheric concentrations by an additional 87±29 ppm.5-fold increase in methane emissions would cause indirect effects that increase the warming 250% above that of the methane alone. A great deal of this permafrost carbon is actually being released as highly flammable methane instead of carbon [96] dioxide. which is more likely and over a 20 year lifetime has 72x the greenhouse warming power of CO2. The team found that even at the much lower level of human emissions. For a 5. Positive and negative feedbacks are not imposed as assumptions in the models. and (3) their model did not project additional temperature rise caused by the release of [93][94] these additional gases. permafrost thawing and decomposition would still result in 190 Gt C of permafrost carbon being added to the atmosphere on top of the human sources. is strong compared to other global sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2. The researchers found that a 2. beyond human emissions. The main positive feedback in the climate system is the water vapor feedback. which may have the potential [92] to cause abrupt climate change. the "emission scenarios" used by IPCC in its 2007 report primarily examined greenhouse gas emissions from human sources. and due to thermal [93] inertia will continue for many years even if atmospheric warming stops.the first quantity while negative feedback reduces it.

cryosphere. The geographic distribution of surface warming during the 21st century calculated by the HadCM3 climate model if a business as usual scenario is assumed for economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. A climate model is a computerized representation of the five components of the climate [98] system:Atmosphere.0 °C (5. ocean temperature. ice cover on land and sea. the globally averaged warming corresponds to 3..e. One of the mathematical results of these complex equations is a prediction [99] whether warming or cooling will occur. thermodynamics and radiative transfer. (2) the use of differing estimates of humanities' future greenhouse gas emissions. which assumes no action is taken to reduce emissions and regionally divided economic development. Such models are based on physical principles including fluid dynamics. There can be components which represent air movement. and others. the transfer of heat and moisture from soil and vegetation to the atmosphere. chemical and biological processes. (3) any additional emissions from climate feedbacks that were not included in the models IPCC used to prepare its report. Although researchers attempt to include as many processes as possible. For example. i. land surface. Results from models can also vary due to different greenhouse gas inputs and the model's climate sensitivity. greenhouse gas releases from [93] permafrost. and circulation. Instead the models predict how greenhouse gases will interact with radiative transfer and other physical processes. The models do not assume the climate will warm due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases. the uncertainty in IPCC's 2007 projections is caused by (1) the use of multiple models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations. and other atmospheric properties. salt content. and biosphere. .Calculations of global warming prepared in or before 2001 from a range of climate models under the SRES A2 emissions scenario.4 °F). In this figure. clouds. temperature. hydrosphere. simplifications of the actual climate system are inevitable because of the constraints of available computer power and limitations in knowledge of the climate system.

reported to the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and theNational Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) Natural systems Global warming has been detected in a number of systems. Detection and attribution may also be applied to observed changes in [110] physical. Detection does not imply attribution of the detected change to a particular cause. As of 2012. climate models produce a good match to observations of global temperature changes [105] over the last century. Models are also used to help investigate the causes of recent climate change by comparing the observed changes to those that the models project from various natural and human-derived causes. they do indicate that the [43] warming since 1970 is dominated by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.Recent research has called special attention to the need to refine models with respect to the [100] [101][102][103] effect of clouds and the carbon cycle. based on the instrumental temperature record. but do not simulate all aspects of climate. Precipitation increased proportional to [107][108] atmospheric humidity. have been described in the section on temperature . without providing a reason for that change. Sparse records indicate that glaciers have been retreating since the early 1800s. and hence significantly faster than global climate models predict. e. "Attribution" of causes of climate change is the process of establishing the most likely causes for the detected change with some defined [109] level of confidence. Some of these changes. The physical realism of models is tested by examining their ability to simulate contemporary or [104] past climates. ecological and social systems. Although these models do not unambiguously attribute the warming that occurred from approximately 1910 to 1945 to either natural variation or human effects. Not all effects of global warming are accurately predicted by the climate models used by the IPCC. In the 1950s measurements began that allow the monitoring of glacial mass balance. ObservedArctic [106] shrinkage has been faster than that predicted.g. Expected effects Main articles: Effects of global warming and Regional effects of global warming "Detection" is the process of demonstrating that climate has changed in some defined statistical sense..

relative to 1980–1999) range from 0. [114] could contribute 4–6 metres (13 to 20 ft) or more to sea level rise. were not given a likelihood due to a lack of scientific understanding. [D] with high probability. with most warming at high northern latitudes. Rising sea levels and observed decreases in snow and ice extent are consistent with [111] warming. the earlier timing of spring events. and poleward and upward shifts in [111] plant and animal ranges. it is expected that climate [117] change will result in the extinction of many species and reduced diversity of ecosystems. These estimates. combined with higher global temperatures. Future climate change is expected to particularly affect certain ecosystems. Changes in regional climate are expected to include greater warming over land. Most of the increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is. Impacts of climate change so far include adverse [119] effects on small islands. Over the 21st century. Snow cover area and sea ice extent are expected to decrease. heat waves. It is expected that most ecosystems will be affected by higher atmospheric [116] CO2 levels. yields could decline. On the timescale of centuries to millennia. [113] and coral reefs. the melting of ice sheets could result in even higher sea level rise. and heavy precipitation will very likely increase. and possibly the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. In the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Responses to global warming . Warming above 3 °C could result in crop yields falling in [123] temperate regions. Future warming of around 3 °C (by 2100. nor was an upper bound given for sea level rise. including tundra. but in low-latitude areas. relative to 1990–2000) could result in increased crop yields in mid. and small but discernable effects on human health. Most economic studies [124][125] suggest losses of world gross domestic product (GDP) for this magnitude of warming.59 m. with the [115] Arctic expected to be largely ice-free in September by 2037.and high-latitude areas. across a range of future emission scenarios.changes. global emissions are still expected to continue to grow [113] over time. A similar regional pattern of net benefits and costs could occur for [121] economic (market-sector) effects. attributable to human-induced changes in greenhouse gas [112] concentrations. increasing [119] the risk of malnutrition. reductions in water supplies. increased malnutrition and increased health [122] impacts. have been linked with high confidence to recent warming.mangroves. The frequency of hot extremes.18 to 0. modelbased estimates of sea level rise for the end of the 21st century (the year 2090–2099. Social systems Vulnerability of human societies to climate change mainly lies in the effects of extreme-weather [118] events rather than gradual climate change. and least warming over the Southern Ocean and parts of the [113] North Atlantic Ocean. Ecological systems In terrestrial ecosystems. Partial deglaciation of the Greenland ice sheet. however. climate change is likely to adversely affect hundreds of millions of people through increased coastal flooding. Even with policies to reduce emissions. adverse effects on indigenous populations in high-latitude [120] [121] areas. Overall. leading to a reduction in global food production.

Studies indicate substantial potential for future reductions in [127] emissions. and costs of future adaptation are not fully understood.. The IPCC defines mitigation as activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.) with the risk of unknown side-effects. are aiming to use cleaner. increased use of renewable energy. and techniques for reducing the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth's [133] atmospheric system.Mitigation Main article: Climate change mitigation See also: Fee and dividend Reducing the amount of future climate change is called mitigation of climate change.e. Policies include targets for emissions reductions. Geoengineering A body of the scientific literature has developed which considers [133] alternative geoengineering techniques for climate change mitigation... In the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (published in 2007) Working Group III (WG3) assessed some "apparently promising" geoengineering techniques. Even societies with high capacities to adapt are still vulnerable to climate change. usually underground. technologies. breaking the prior record set in 2008. The IPCC's overall conclusion was that geoengineering options [134] remained "largely speculative and unproven. or spontaneous. (. i. . fossil fuels are going to be used for years to come. Many countries. Adaptation Main article: Adaptation to global warming Other policy responses include adaptation to climate change. and increased energy efficiency. Energy-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in [130] history. capturing and sequestering CO2.g. In order to limit warming to within the lower range described in the IPCC's "Summary Report for [128] Policymakers" it will be necessary to adopt policies that will limit greenhouse gas emissions to [129] one of several significantly different scenarios described in the full report.. e. done privately without [132] government intervention. less polluting. or enhance the [126] capacity of carbon sinks to absorb GHGs from the atmosphere. reliable cost estimates for geoengineering options had not yet been published. [59]:192 bothdeveloping and developed. The ability to adapt is closely linked to social andeconomic [127] development." In the [134] IPCC's judgement. including ocean fertilization. This will become more and more difficult with each year of increasing volumes of emissions and even more drastic measures will be required in later years to stabilize a desired atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. Adaptation to climate change may be planned. a process that traps CO2 produced by [131] factories and gas or coal power stations and then stores it. mitigation may also involve carbon capture and storage. The barriers. Use of these technologies aids mitigation and could result in substantial reductions in CO 2 emissions. Since even in the most optimistic scenario. by local or national government. limits. Planned adaptation is already occurring on a limited basis.

and asserted that proposed solutions would do more harm [142] than good. whether humankind has contributed significantly to it. In general. emissions worldwide would need to be dramatically reduced from their present level. especially since the mid-20th century. In the scientific literature. regarding the nature. causes. and economic development can proceed in [147] a sustainable fashion. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this [140][141] view."[143] In order to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of CO2. as well as [135] significant further scientific research. Global warming controversy The global warming controversy refers to a variety of disputes. deployment would likely require global public acceptance and an adequate global legal and regulatory framework. global [148] emissions have risen. the G77 (a lobbying group in the United Nations . significantly more pronounced [138][139] in the popular media than in the scientific literature. this requires that GHG concentrations are stabilized in the atmosphere at a level where ecosystems can adapt naturally to climate change. The Framework Convention was agreed in 1992. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to prevent "dangerous" human [146] interference of the climate system. As is stated in the Convention. though a few organisations hold non-committal positions. They challenged the scientific evidence. These competing views weigh the benefits of limiting emissions of greenhouse gases against the costs. conservative think tanks mobilized to undermine the legitimacy of global warming as a social problem.[144] Most countries are Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate [145] Change(UNFCCC). it seems likely that climate change will impose greater damages and [137] risks in poorer regions. but since then. The disputed issues include the causes of increasedglobal average air temperature. food production is not threatened. Views on global warming Main articles: Global warming controversy and Politics of global warming See also: Scientific opinion on climate change and Public opinion on climate change There are different views over what the appropriate policy response to climate change should [136] be. and consequences of global warming. and what the consequences of global warming will be. Additional disputes concern estimates of climate sensitivity. Politics Article 2 of the UN Framework Convention refers explicitly to "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations. whether this warming trend is unprecedented or within normal climatic variations.As most geoengineering techniques would affect the entire globe. From 1990–1997 in the United States. there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. argued that global warming will have benefits. During negotiations. predictions of additional warming. and whether the increase is wholly or partially an artifact of poor measurements.

Bush rejected the treaty on the basis that "it exempts 80% of the world.. and the emissions of developing countries would grow to meet their development [61]:290 needs. [149]:4 Public opinion The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with English-speaking territoriesand do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. In ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. This mandate was sustained in the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework [61]:290 [151] Convention. The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) was held at Cancún in 2010. from compliance. held in 2009 at Copenhagen. This was justified on the basis that: the developed world's emissions had contributed most to the stock of GHGs in the atmosphere. most developed countries accepted legally binding commitments [151] to limit their emissions. It produced an agreement. To having a likely chance of meeting the 2 °Cobjective. with substantial declines in emissions thereafter. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. several UNFCCC [152] Parties produced the Copenhagen Accord.[156] . assessed studies generally indicated the need for global emissions to peak before 2020. including major population centers such as China and India.000 adults in the USA conducted 29–30 July 2011. A preliminary assessment published in November 2010 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggests a possible "emissions gap" between the voluntary pledges made in the Accord and the emissions cuts necessary to have a "likely" (greater than [153]:10–14 66% probability) chance of meeting the 2 °C objective.representing 133 developing nations) pushed for a mandate requiring developed countries to [150] "[take] the lead" in reducing their emissions. Parties associated with the Accord (140 countries.e. The UNEP assessment takes the 2 °C objective as being measured against the pre-industrial global mean temperature level. and would cause serious harm to [149]:5 the US economy." At the 15th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties. per-capita emissions (i. It also recognized the need to consider strengthening the goal to a global average [155] rise of 1. emissions per head of population) were still relatively low in developing countries.5 °C. (October 2011) Based on Rasmussen polling of 1. These first-round commitments expire in 2012. that the Parties should take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet a goal of limiting global warming to 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures. not a binding treaty. [153]:9 as of November 2010) aim to limit the future increase in global mean temperature to [154] below2 °C. US President George W. which entered into legal effect in 2005.

The cause of this marked difference in public opinion between the US and the global public is uncertain but the hypothesis has been advanced that clearer communication by scientists both directly and through the media would be helpful in adequately informing the American public of the scientific consensus and the [163] basis for it. with 59% believing that scientists disagree "significantly" on global [164] warming. 2009 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed decreasing public perception in the US that global warming was a serious problem. In the United States. Of those aware. opinions over the concept and the appropriate responses are divided. this was 10% below the 2008 poll (63%)." A 2010 poll by the Office of National Statistics found that 75% of UK respondents were at least "fairly convinced" that the world's climate is changing. parts of Asia and the [157] Middle East. while 14% said it was no threat. In the US. according to the Public Policy Institute of California's (PPIC) eleventh annual survey on environmental policy issues. Over a third of the world's population was unaware of global warming. only 35% of [162] whom considered there to be solid evidence of global warming. except in the USA where nearly half (47%) of the [166] population attributed global warming to natural causes. in May 2011 a joint poll by Yale and George Mason Universities found that nearly half the people in the USA (47%) attribute global warming to human activities. Latin America had the biggest rise in concern. By 2010. Gallup determined that there was a substantial decrease in the number of Americans and Europeans who viewed Global Warming as a serious threat. compared to [160] 87% in a similar survey in 2006. Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that the public's belief as to the causes of [168] global warming depends on the wording choice used in the polls. A January 2011 ICM poll in the UK found 83% of respondents viewed climate change as a current or imminent threat. Nick Pidgeon of Cardiff University said that "results show the different stages of engagement about global warming on each side of the Atlantic". "doubtful". In the Western world. "The debate in Europe is about what action needs to be taken.In 2007–2008 Gallup Polls surveyed 127 countries. while many in the US still debate whether climate change is [158][159] happening. with 111 countries surveyed. with 73% saying global warming was a serious threat to their [165] families. The US public appears to be unaware of the extent of scientific consensus regarding the issue. A survey in October. and those in Africa the least aware. compared to 36% blaming it on natural causes. . On the other hand. or "dismissive" of global warming were aware that 97% of publishing US climate scientists agree [167] global warming is happening and is primarily caused by humans. with people in developing countries less aware than those indeveloped. Latin America leads in belief that temperature changes are a result of human activities while Africa. though there had been a [161] slight polarisation of opposing views. All political persuasions showed reduced concern with lowest concern among Republicans. and a few countries from the Former Soviet Union lead in the opposite belief. adding. Only 5% of the 35% who were "disengaged". Opinion was unchanged from an August 2009 poll asking the same question. a little over half the population (53%) now viewed it as a serious concern for either themselves or their families. That global poll also found that people are more likely to attribute global warming to human activities than to natural causes. 75% said they believe global warming is a very serious or [169] somewhat serious threat to the economy and quality of life in California.

Organizations such as the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute." because while it was recognized humans could change [188] the climate. The National Academy of Sciences first used global warming in a 1979 paper called the Charney Report. or called for policies to reduce global warming. Deutsche Bank has set up an institutional climate change investment division [179] [180] (DBCCA). [58][171] Etymology The term global warming was probably first used in its modern sense on 8 August 1975 in a science paper by Wally Broecker in the journalScience called "Are we on the brink of a [185][186][187] pronounced global warming?". However." His testimony was widely reported and afterward global warmingwas commonly used by the press and in public [188] discourse. National [172] science academies have called on world leaders for policies to cut global emissions. [171][173][174] some scientists and non-scientists question aspects of climate-change science. Broecker's choice of words was new and represented a significant recognition that the climate was warming." Other views Most scientists agree that humans are contributing to observed climate change. it said: "if carbon dioxide continues to increase. [we find] no reason to doubt that climate changes will result and no reason [189] to believe that these changes will be negligible. and provided their own [175][176][177][178] projections of the economic cost of stricter controls. conservative commentators. Global warming became more widely popular after 1988 when NASA climate scientist James [188] Hansen used the term in a testimony to Congress. A September 2011 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that Britons (43%) are less likely than Americans (49%) or Canadians (52%) to say that "global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities. while promoting adaptation to changes in [182] infrastructural needs and emissions reductions. previously the phrasing used by scientists was "inadvertent climate modification. funded scientists who disagree with the scientific consensus. which has commissioned and published research on the issues and debate [181] surrounding global warming. He said: "global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship [190] between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming. Environmental organizations and public figures have emphasized changes in the climate and the risks they entail. In the finance industry. and some companies such as ExxonMobilhave challenged IPCC climate change scenarios." The same poll found that 20% of Americans. no one was sure which direction it was going. 20% of Britons and 14% of Canadians think "global warming is a theory that has not yet been [170] proven. Some fossil fuel companies have scaled back [183] [184] their efforts in recent years. while referring to other changes [188] caused by increased CO2 asclimate change. .A July 2011 Rasmussen Reports poll found that 69% of adults in the USA believe it is at least [156] somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified global warming research." The report made a distinction between referring to surface temperature changes as global warming.