Scott: Okay, Keith Kocinski is here with me now to take a deeper look at a new report out by the United Nations on climate change.
Keith Kocinski: Yeah, Scott. Scientists with the UN said they are more convinced than ever that humans are the main cause of climate change.
Protesters in Stockholm, Sweden called for governments to stop what they call an ‘environmental catastrophe’. It happened just as the United Nations panel released a new report on climate change Friday that more clearly blamed humans than ever before.
The report says in scientific terms that it is ‘extremely likely,’ meaning a probability of at least 95%, that the main cause of global warming is human-created greenhouse gases like CO2. This is up from 90% in the panel’s last report in 2007 and 66% in 2001. Scientists warned the impact of these greenhouse gases would be felt for centuries. But there is a problem. The global atmosphere hasn’t been warming lately.
For decades, as the amount of carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere went up, shown by the top line on this graph, the global average temperature – the squiggly bottom line – more or less followed. Since 1998, the amount of greenhouse gas continued to rise but the air temperature hasn’t. Why not? The answer may be found in the water.
Dr. Brian King: The ocean is warming significantly. Almost each year is warmer than the previous year and certainly each decade is warmer than the previous decade.
Keith: Those who use the ocean to make money say they are beginning to see evidence of the water warming. This company near San Diego raises oysters. Last year, Dennis Peterson says they could only get a quarter of the young oysters or seed they need from hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. It cost them about a million dollars in lost business.
Dennis Peterson: The oceans were getting more acidic as a by-product of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.
Keith: About 70% of carbon dioxide produced on the planet stays in the atmosphere or is used by plants. Thirty percent is absorbed by the oceans where it produces a weak acid. The acid is strong enough to impact sea life and prevent oysters from creating their shells. Carbon emissions also trap heat and the report shows that the oceans have absorbed 90% of that heat, raising ocean temperatures by a half-degree. Had all that heat gone into the atmosphere, air temperatures could have risen more than 200-degrees.
As the United Nations calls for change, some disagree.
Dr. King: They are unrealistic and unreachable.
Keith: Some say instead of changes that impact greenhouse gases, there needs to be more focus on things like flood barriers to protect against the rising sea levels that global warming causes.
Whatever the solution, it looks like the debate on global warming is heating up again.
To check out more information from the climate change report, head to Channelone.com.