Facts About Climate Change

A slowdown in the pace of global warming so far this century is likely to be only a pause in a longer-term trend of rising temperatures, the science academies of the United States and Britain said on Thursday. Since an exceptionally warm 1998, there has been "a short-term slowdown in the warming of Earth's surface," Britain's Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences said in a report. But, they said, that "does not invalidate our understanding of long-term changes in global temperature arising from human-induced changes in greenhouse gases."

The warming slowdown has emboldened those who question the evidence about climate change and ask whether a shift in investments towards renewable energies such as wind and solar power, advocated by many experts, is really needed. But the report said that scientists were "very confident" that the planet would warm further this century, causing more extreme heatwaves, droughts and rising seas.

A build-up of greenhouse gases from human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels, is warming the atmosphere and the oceans, raising sea levels and melting Arctic ice, the report said, supporting the long-held view of a U.N. panel of climate scientists. It projected that temperatures would rise by between 2.6 and 4.8 Celsius (4.7-8.6 F) by 2100 unless governments took strong action to limit rising emissions of greenhouse gases, broadly in line with U.N. estimates. Temperatures have gained about 0.8 C (1.4 F) since the 19th century.

 

Almost 200 nations have agreed to work out a deal by the end of 2015 to combat climate change.


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