The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate change report is out and the news isn't good.
According to the Guardian's interactive guide to how hot it could get, a child born today could see temperature rises of up to 6.3°C in its lifetime – enough to bring catastrophic impacts to the planet if he or she lives to be in their mid 90’s.
They report that we have major changes to go through, as "humans cannot burn all of the coal, oil and gas reserves that countries and companies possess" without causing significant damage to the habitability of the planet.
The story highlights some of the findings:
• Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now at levels "unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years."
• Since the 1950's it's "extremely likely" that human activities have been the dominant cause of the temperature rise.
• Concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased to levels that are unprecedented in at least 800,000 years. The burning of fossil fuels is the main reason behind a 40% increase in C02 concentrations since the industrial revolution.
• Global temperatures are likely to rise by 0.3C to 4.8C (10.2F), by the end of the century depending on how much governments control carbon emissions.
• Sea levels are expected to rise a further 26-82cm (.8 - 2.6 feet) by the end of the century.
• The oceans have acidified as they have absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted.
You can read the full report at the IPCC site starting September 30.
One scientist quoted in the Guardian story admitted there are some uncertainties: "The most significant uncertainty, however, is how much carbon humanity will choose to put into the atmosphere in the future. It is the total sum of all our carbon emissions that will determine the impacts..."