February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 9, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 1996
IPCC SCIENCE REPORT
Meeting in Madrid at the end of November,
Working Group I of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change settled on the
final wording of the 1995 Summary for Policy Makers of its contribution
to the 1995 IPCC assessment. The group's review of the state of scientific
understanding of climate change has been one of the most controversial portions
of the assessment, as early drafts asserted that scientific evidence for a human
influence on climate now exists. (See Global Climate Change Digest News,
Most observers find the wording of the final version somewhat weaker, due
largely to efforts by the oil-producing states, but the summary still states
that despite considerable scientific uncertainty, "the balance of evidence
suggests that there is a discernible human influence on climate." The
current best estimate of increase in global mean surface temperature by the year
2100 is 2° Centigrade, two-thirds the corresponding estimate made in 1990
for the first IPCC assessment. The most likely sea level rise (50 centimeters)
is down by one quarter since 1990.
The complete text of the summary has been reproduced in Intl. Environ.
Rptr., pp. 969-971, Dec. 13; or contact the IPCC Secretariat (see next news
item, Global Climate Change Digest, January 1996) or the U.S. Global Change Res. Prog. (202 554 5113). The following
articles discuss the report:
"Future Warming May Be Less than Predicted, but Clearly Tied to Human
Activity, IPCC Says," ibid., p. 936. Highlights the debate over the
final wording, quoting IPCC Chair Bert Bolin, energy industry lobbyist Donald
Pearlman, and others.
"It's Official: First Glimmer of Greenhouse Warming Seen," R.A.
Kerr, Science, pp. 1565-1567, Dec. 8. Emphasizes the range of opinion
among scientists that underlies the careful phrasing of the summary conclusions,
and how the summary answers two major criticisms of greenhouse skeptics.
"Climate Panel Confirms Human Role in Warming, Fights off Oil States,"
E. Masood, Nature, p. 524, Dec. 7. Emphasizes details of the negotiation
process in Madrid and its outcome.
"Climate Observations Substantiate Global Warming Models," B.
Hileman, Chem. Eng. News, pp. 18-23, Nov. 27. A comprehensive review of
the latest developments in the science of global warming. (This article is also
available on the World Wide Web: http://pubs.acs.org.)
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