Scientists are now 95 percent certain that humans are the major cause of climate change.
That's the headline from a widely anticipated study released this morning by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as reported by the BBC.
IPCC starkly notes that since the 1950s, the extent of climate change has been "unprecedented," and says that human practices such as burning fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases is clearly responsible for more than half of the increase in temperatures.
Climate change "challenges the two primary resources of humans and ecosystems, land and water," said Prof. Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the IPCC group that issued the study. "In short, it threatens our planet, our only home."
IPCC warns that "substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions" will be required to limit these changes.
The study states that global warming on land, air and sea is "unequivocal," and that a warming pause over the last 15 years "is too short to reflect long term trends," the BBC noted.
It states that sea levels will rise at a faster than previously anticipated rate. The new estimate is for a rise of between 26 centimeters and 82 centimeters by the end of the century, depending on greenhouse gas emission policies.
The freshly released 36-page report is the first of three due from the IPCC over the next 12 months. IPPC announced the report in Stockholm, and issued a press release on its findings. It also published a short document providing climate change bullet points for policy makers.
IPCC includes two U.N. bodies - the World Meteorological Association, and the U.N. Environment Program.
Image is a screen grab from the IPCC report.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com