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Blog Posts: climate science

  • National Climate Assessment Reveals How Climate Change Impacts Your Neighborhood

    The National Climate Assessment, released today, is the most comprehensive assessment of U.S. climate impacts to date.

    Here’s a look at how communities across the country are already being affected—as well as steps we can take at the local, state, and federal levels to rein in future warming.

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  • Analyzing the IPCC Report: 6 Things You Need to Know About Reducing Emissions

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) newest installment, Working Group III (WGIII): Mitigation and Climate Change, highlights an important message: It’s still possible to limit average global temperature rise to 2°C—but only if the world rapidly reduces emissions and changes its current energy mix.

    We've outlined six things you need to know about the level of emissions reductions needed to rein in runaway warming.

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  • Key Points on Climate Adaptation from the New IPCC Report

    The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—released last night—reveals several findings that decision-makers can keep in mind—both in order to understand current and future climate impacts, as well as develop strategies to help societies become more resilient to them. Here are a few takeaways that can inform the future of climate change adaptation:

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  • 4 Takeaways from IPCC Report Reveal Worsening Impacts of Climate Change

    The first installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)—released in September—confirmed the overwhelming scientific consensus that the world is warming, largely due to human activities. The Working Group II (WGII) report, released today, takes this finding a step further: Not only is climate change happening, but every continent on earth is now experiencing its impacts.

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  • Visualizing the Global Carbon Budget

    There’s a lot we can learn about the "carbon budget"—what it is, what the impacts will be if we exceed it, and how we can stay within it. WRI created a new infographic to help explain the complexities behind this critically important topic.

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  • Watching for Signs of Climate Action in the State of the Union Address

    When President Obama addresses the nation later today, climate change is expected to be featured. The president recently said that one of his personal passions is “leaving a planet that is as spectacular as the one we inherited from our parents and our grandparents.” The next two years will determine if his administration can meet this standard.

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  • IPCC Report Delivers A Strong Message On Climate For Business Leaders

    An old Wall Street adage says “the market hates uncertainty.” Well, businesses received an unambiguous message last week with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

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  • 5 Major Takeaways from the IPCC Report on Global Climate Change

    Earlier today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Summary for Policymakers of Working Group I’s (WGI) portion of the 5th assessment report (AR5) on climate change. The report, focused on the physical science of our climate system, confirms the overwhelming scientific consensus that the world is warming and human activities are responsible.

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  • World’s Carbon Budget to Be Spent in Three Decades

    EDITOR'S NOTE 11/18/13: After this blog post was published, the IPCC updated its Summary for Policymakers. The figures in this blog post have been updated to reflect new information.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) has delivered an overwhelming consensus that climate change impacts are accelerating, fueled by human-caused emissions. We may have just about 30 years left until the world’s carbon budget is spent if we want a likely chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees C. Breaching this limit would put the world at increased risk of forest fires, coral bleaching, higher sea level rise, and other dangerous impacts.

    When Will Our Carbon Budget Run Out?

    The international community has adopted a goal for global warming not to rise above 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists have devoted considerable effort to understanding what magnitude of emissions reductions are necessary to limit warming to this level, as the world faces increasingly dangerous climate change impacts with every degree of warming (see Box 1).

    IPCC AR5 summarizes the scientific literature and estimates that cumulative carbon dioxide emissions related to human activities need to be limited to 1 trillion tonnes C (1000 PgC) since the beginning of the industrial revolution if we are to have a likely chance of limiting warming to 2°C. This is “our carbon budget” – the same concept as a checking account. When we’ve spent it all, there’s no more money (and the planet’s overdraft fees will be much more significant than a bank’s small charges for bounced checks).[^1]

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  • New Report Connects 2012 Extreme Weather Events to Human-Caused Climate Change

    As extreme weather events like wildfires, heat waves, downpours, and droughts continue to make headlines in the United States and around the world, many have wondered what their connection is to climate change. A new report sheds some light, firmly drawing correlations between several extreme weather events in 2012 and human-induced warming.

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