Saturday, March 18, 2017

Present Climate Change: A Brief Historical Summary

• 1979: First world climate conference held in Geneva;
establishment of the World Climate Programme

• 1985: Scientists at the World Climate Program conference at Villach in Austria confidently predict that increased CO2 concentrations will lead to a significant rise in the mean surface temperatures of the earth. Meanwhile, a hole in the ozone layer is discovered over Antarctica

• 1987: The hottest year on record to date

• 1988: The Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) is set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Dr James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies delivers his famous testimony to the U.S. Senate. Based on computer models and temperature measurements he is 99 percent sure that the human caused greenhouse effect has been detected and it is already changing the climate

• 1990: The IPCC delivers its first assessment on the state of climate change, predicting an increase of 0.3 °C each decade in the 21st century -- greater than any rise seen over the previous 10,000 years

• 1992: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, better known as the Earth Summit, takes place in Rio de Janeiro attended by 172 countries. It is the first unified effort to get to grips with global warming and leads to negotiations which result in the Kyoto Protocol.

• 1995: The hottest year on record. Four years later the 1990s are confirmed as the hottest decade in 1000 years. The IPCC report for that year states that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate“

• 1997: The Kyoto Protocol: Industrialized countries agree to cut their emissions of six key greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 percent. Under the terms of the agreement each country -- except developing countries -- commits to a reduction by 2008 -- 2012 compared to 1990 levels

• 2001: Newly elected U.S. President George W. Bush renounces the Kyoto Protocol stating that it will damage the U.S. economy. The third IPCC report declares that the evidence of global warming over the previous 50 years being fueled by human activities is stronger than ever.

• 2003: Europe experiences one the hottest summers on record causing widespread drought claiming the lives of over 30,000 people

• 2005: Following ratification by Russia -- the 19th country to do so -- in November 2004, the Kyoto Protocol becomes a legally binding treaty. America and Australia continue their refusal to sign up claiming reducing emissions would damage their economies

• 2007: 175 countries in total have ratified the Kyoto Treaty. Under new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Australia ratifies the treaty. The IPCC report for a fourth time states that "warming of the climate is unequivocal" and that the levels of temperature and sea rise in the 21st century will depend on the extent or limit of emissions in the coming years. Former vice-president Al Gore and the IPCC jointly win the Nobel Peace Prize for services to environmentalism.

• 2008: 160 square miles of the Wilkins Shelf breaks away from the Antarctic coast. Scientists are concerned that Climate Change may be happening faster than previously thought. Following the Bali talks/roadmap, negotiators from 180 countries launch formal negotiations towards a new treaty to mitigate climate change at the Bangkok Climate Change Talks

• Feb 2009: Barack Obama becomes president of the United States. His administration is set to facilitate the instauration of Green renewable technologies, to progressively reduce dependence on fossil fuel and to strengthen international collaboration in mitigating the impacts of climate change. There is hope that the USA will join the international community in fighting climate change

Source of Information : Climate Change: A Silent Threat by Sylvain Richer de Forges
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