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The central message of the latest IPCC report is stark and clear. Humanity must phase out fossil fuels by 2050 to avoid dangerous run-away climate change. The Synthesis Report reinforces what three previous reports released in the last year have already highlighted – the causes (physical science of climate change), the impacts on natural and human systems and the solutions to tackle climate change.

Six Graphs Tell the Climate Change Story

The following 6 graphs from the report illustrate how we have changed the world’s climate.

Graph 1. Change in surface temperature between 1901-2012. Our world has generally become hotter with only a few minor exceptions as shown by the blue sections. Warming is unequivocal and the human influence on climate is clear.

Six Graphs That Tell the Climate Change Story, boomer warrior
Map of the observed surface temperature change, from 1901 to 2012, derived from temperature trends determined by linear regression from one data set Photograph: IPCC


Graph 2. 13 of the 14 warmest years ever recorded occurred this century. The top panel shows annual mean values and the bottom panel shows the decadal mean values. Since the 1950s the observed changes are unprecedented. The period from 1983 to 2012 was likely the warmest 30 year period of the last 1,400 years.

Six Graphs That Tell the Climate Change Story, boomer warrior
Observed global mean combined land and ocean surface temperature anomalies, from 1850 to 2012 from three data sets. Top panel: annual mean values. Bottom panel: decadal mean values including the estimate of uncertainty for one dataset (black). Anomalies are relative to the mean of 1961−1990 Photograph: Average global temperatures – IPCC


Graph 3. It’s going to get much worse. Our planet has already warmed by 0.7C since the industrial revolution due to greenhouse gases. The map on the left assumes a significant cut in emissions whereas the map on right illustrates a business-as-usual pumping of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Six Graphs That Tell the Climate Change Story, boomer warrior
Projections for increase in average temperatures in 2081– 2100, above late 20th-century average temperature Photograph: IPCC


Graph 4. “The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia”, indicates the Synthesis Report.

Six Graphs That Tell the Climate Change Story, boomer warrior
Global mean sea level, relative to the 1900–1905 mean of the longest running dataset. There are four datasets, each marked by a different colour. Photograph: IPCC


Graph 5. New research shows that the melting of Arctic ice is being linked to more severe weather patterns around the globe.

Six Graphs That Tell the Climate Change Story, boomer warrior
Extent of Arctic July-August-September (summer) average sea ice Photograph: IPCC


Graph 6. Why this is all happening. GHG emissions are now growing at twice the rate of the previous 30 years. Without concerted action on carbon, temperatures will increase over the coming decades and could be almost 5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century.

Six Graphs That Tell the Climate Change Story, boomer warrior
Annual global greenhouse gas emissions Photograph: IPCC

We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” Jay Inslee

Rolly Montpellier, boomer warriorRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and an Climate Activist. Rolly has been published in several online publications – Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, Georgian Bay News.

Some of Rolly’s articles have also appeared in newspapers such as The Hill Times and the Kingston Whig. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and Linkedin.

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  1. Yes, the IPCC report, released last Sunday (2 November 2014), doesn’t ‘mince words’ about the last 5 years of intense scrutiny of the climate scientists various studies. The IPCC mentioned the absolute necessity for cutting carbon emissions at least 31 times… In previous reports, it was unusual to see a direct mention to governments more than 3 times.

    While the report says much, it doesn’t quite reach the zero-carbon goal that most scientists agree we must reach by 2050. This is largely a political intervention to keep all parties “sweet” in a world where there is a perception that global warming can’t possibly be due to the activities of humans! And worse, if it were, the false perception goes on to believe that the climate will somehow balance itself and life will go on as usual!

    Many of the scientists and climate research officials have become depressed due to the fact that their diligence and dedication to finding all the evidence that our activities are affecting climate with negative outcomes, is being ignored or even debunked by lay people with no credible evidence to the contrary. Sadly, many are walking away, shaking their heads at the stupidity of the rest of us.

    If we do not do something to turn around the increasing planetary temperatures, we are going to see life change very rapidly. Feedback loops kick in where we have never seen them. We will see weird weather, drought and floods where there was none before. There will be some strange reversals in photosynthesis, forests will die, the seas will change currents and chemistry as fresh water from melting glaciers enters the system. Mass, rapid and irreversible extinctions of our animals will occur.

    Does this sound apocalyptic? You bet! Should we worry? Yep!

    Can we do something? Yes – change every mind you can to do something to vote down fossil fuel use and find carbon free alternatives. Your grandchildren’ s lives depend on it!

  2. sadly with the combination of apathy/anger/stupidity/greed/selfishness/other in the electorate in our past week’s elections here in Kochistan aka United States of Alec…..we have moved farther from having a government that will work towards solving these problems as part of a world community……

    I am saddened, maddened, and very scared for my children who are still in their teens…..

    • Well Dave, you have every reason to be scared. It’s the same here in Canada with a government hell-bent on Tar Sands Development. At least we have a chance of voting out Stephen Harper and his Conservatives in 2015. Hang in there. We must just fight harder.

  3. I have been actively studying this issue and glacial history since 1967, long before the rest of the world heard a peep about it. I have been to Alaska, Yukon, NWT Greenland and Iceland this summer doing my own research at my own expense. I was at Kulusuk in Greenland on the east coast 100 km. below the Arctic Circle this summer. You can fine a few of my pictures from there on Google Earth, or search my name in Panoramio where I post the pictures for GE. Anyway, forget fighting the tar sands, we have passed peak conventional oil for the world, and only fracking and tar sands will keep our cars going. They only make the products that we demand, we are the problem. A potato will solve the problem, stuff it up the exhaust pipe of your car. I am preparing a presentation wrapping up 50 years of personal research to be presented to 300 people next spring. There is 7 billion people in the world now, it will peak at 11 billion before declining because there are so many very young people, about to have their 2 babies and they all want what we have and wont give up. The problem is no longer the high birth rate, it is the low death rate. You are going to loose this battle, despite it being well worth fighting. We cannot support 11 billion people without abundant cheap fossil fuels, and they are going to run low. We cannot support 11 billion people on little farms, when they are all buried under concrete, and it takes powerful pumps to irrigate the deserts. Most countries are buried in debt, take away cheap fossil fuels that power the economies, and the nation will go into collapse. Greece cannot survive without tourists. When oil begins to be hard to get, the last of the exporting nations will hold back the oil for themselves. Oil suppliers, both individuals, corporations and nations will hoard the oil abruptly and the end will come. I can not see anyway around it, and the tar sands are just a mosquito in the big picture.
    Harper will not cut off our oil supplies, That will just make Trudeau PM. However, we don’t need to export it either.

    Where are you located? I am in Kingston.

    • Hello Steve – I’m not sure if we’ve met before. It’s hard for me to keep up with all my contacts, Twitter and Facebook friends, but I try to. I live North of Kingston in North Frontenac – about 1.5 hours away from you.

      “You are going to loose this battle, despite it being well worth fighting.” This line from your commentary above jumps out at me. I don’t want to agree with you on this but I fear that you may be right. I will use your comment in a future article about overpopulation which is a less talked about subject for religious and political reasons. The planet cannot sustain 7 billion people aspiring to a Western lifestyle let alone another 4 billion added on in the next decades.

      Thanks for your comments.

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  4. I just want to comment to Steve Meanders (if he comes back here to read it).
    First, I’d like to say “a big thank you” for your dedication to research that affects us all… Without you, people like me, wouldn’t even know about the mess we have all put ourselves in. I would also like to apologise on behalf of our word governments who have done you and your fellow scientists an unforgiveable disservice, ignoring your warnings about our climate changes. Finally, I agree on your assessment of population and the fact that it is “the elephant in the room” that politicians especially seem to find totally “invisible.”

    I guess we have to keep pointing out the obvious…even if we might ultimately lose the battles, we will have at least tried to get the politicians to listen. If we lose the war too, MotherNature will put the balance back. Unfortunately she will exterminate the human species to do it!

  5. In my presentation on March 27, it will cover all natural and man made causes of climate change. I am a technical person, I wish to educate, I treat all sides of the story equally fair, and let the facts speak for them selves. There are many very vocal advocates on both sides, who can trust either? The facts on climate change just need to be revealed in an objective form, I will let my audience then feel guilty if it fits. I hope to be more effective by letting them decide what to do, than having me tell them. They have to trust me first.



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