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April 19, 2018  |  Login
ecomii guides guide to global warming
In partnership with:  Union of Concerned Scientists

What's the big deal about a few degrees?

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So, the average global temperature has risen by 1°F just in the 20th century. That doesn’t seem so bad, you might think to yourself, until you learn that the Earth’s temperature has not varied more than 1.8°F in the last 10,000 years. Gulp. Is it getting hot in here?

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“The IPCC's Third Assessment Report projects that the Earth's average surface temperature will increase between 2.5° and 10.4°F (1.4°-5.8°C) between 1990 and 2100 if no major efforts are undertaken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (the "business-as-usual" scenario). This is significantly higher than what the [IPCC] Panel predicted in 1995 (1.8°-6.3°F, or 1.0°-3.5°C), mostly because scientists expect a reduced cooling effect from tiny particles (aerosols) in the atmosphere.

"Scientists predict that even if we stopped emitting heat-trapping gases immediately, the climate would not stabilize for many decades because the gases we have already released into the atmosphere will stay there for years or even centuries. So while the warming may be lower or increase at a slower rate than predicted if we reduce emissions significantly, global temperatures will not be able to quickly return to today's averages. And the faster and more the Earth warms, the greater the chances are for some irreversible climate changes.”1

1. Union of Concerned Scientists (8 March 2007). [online]. Excerpted from:
/global-warming-faq.html [25 November 2007]
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