By Brianna Nelson & Jennifer Schmidt | Editor-In-Chief & Staff Writer
The cause of half of the world’s climate changes over the past few years can be attributed to humans, according to a report the United Nations released late September.
The report showed how humans have affected climate change in the past few years, and the U.N. claims a 95 percent certainty of this fact.
The past 15 years have seen a lull in the climate change even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising from the burning of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions, the report said. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the rate of warming from 1998-2012 was about half the average rate since 1951.
Burning carbon-based fuels and emitting greenhouse gases are the main causes of the climate change. Specifically, driving cars, running power plants, and torching forestland and debris are having detrimental consequences to the environment.
However, there are some who believe the U.N. is missing a major factor in the report.
“Even though their report may indicate results appearing to reflect a slowdown in climatic warming, the global evidence, such as the current loss of arctic ice and glacier coverage, as well as massive changes in continental climatic patterns, dispute such findings,” said Dr. Arthur Cleveland, professor of environmental science and vice president for institutional advancement at California Baptist University.
Cleveland agrees, however, that humans are a large contributor to the climate change, seen through the extreme weather patterns, which will probably get worse this century, the report said.
Arctic sea ice melted to a record low last year and the IPCC said sea levels have risen by 7.5 inches since 1901. If sea levels continue to rise and arctic ice continues to melt, arctic and coastal animals could face extinction.
Regardless of what or who is to blame for the climate change, the U.N. agrees that the world is in dire state.
Michellae Bryant, sophomore nursing major, said she believed the report is a good basis for the U.N. to discuss options for the future.
“Global warming should be discussed because it affects everyone, not just one specific country,” she said. “One solution could possibly minimize global warming and lower sea levels across the globe.”
The report will be the scientific basis for the U.N. negotiations on a new climate deal that is expected to conclude by 2015.