Climate Report Marks New Era in Global Warming Battle, Science Historian Says

Feb 01, 2007

Tomorrow will be an important day in the history of humankind's battle against global warming, says a science historian at the American Institute of Physics. In a major report to be released on Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to state that human activity is most likely the major contribution to Earth's global temperature rise since 1950.

"The scientific debate is over," said Spencer Weart, director of AIP's Center for History of Physics, in College Park, MD. "It now becomes an economic and political debate" over how to deal with the problem of global warming, he said.

This report is unprecedented in history, because it is expected to represent an overwhelming consensus by governments and by scientists on the human contribution to climate change, he said.

Weart, the author of "The Discovery of Global Warming" (Harvard University Press, 2003), has studied cultural attitudes to the problem. While humankind must make major changes to combat global warming's effects, there is reason for optimism, he said.

Human civilization now sees and responds to problems decades or centuries in advance, he points out. Half a century ago, in the wake of world wars and economic and political upheavals, most people scarcely tried to plan ten years ahead.

"We are at a new stage of sophistication," Weart said.


On the web:

The Discovery of Global Warming
aip.org/history/climate/index.html

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
www.ipcc.ch/

Timeline of global warming events
physicists.org/history/climate/timeline.htm

World Map of Sea Level Rise
flood.firetree.net/?ll=40.5000,-75.8500

Source: American Institute of Physics

Explore further: Far more displaced by disasters than conflict

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers discover new producer of crucial vitamin

37 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —New research has determined that a single group of micro-organisms may be responsible for much of the world's vitamin B12 production in the oceans, with implications for the global carbon cycle and climate change.

US cities prep for warm climate without saying so

Sep 08, 2014

Climate change remains a political minefield across the U.S., despite the strong scientific consensus that it's happening, so some local leaders have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe consequences without ...

Recommended for you

Far more displaced by disasters than conflict

8 hours ago

Disasters last year displaced three times more people than violent conflicts, showing the urgent need to improve resilience for vulnerable people when fighting climate change, according to a study issued ...

Coral growth rate plummets in 30-year comparison

15 hours ago

A team of researchers working on a Carnegie expedition in Australia's Great Barrier Reef has documented that coral growth rates have plummeted 40% since the mid-1970s. The scientists suggest that ocean acidification ...

Environmentalists and industry duke it out over plastic bags

17 hours ago

Campaigns against disposable plastic shopping bags and their environmental impact recently scored a major win. In August, California lawmakers passed the first statewide ban on the bags, and Governor Jerry Brown is expected ...

User comments : 0