A new study concluded that there’s about a 1 in 100,000 chance that the global warming in the past 60 years is not caused by human-released greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s much more a debate between TV shows and regular Joes than it is between scientists – you could basically call it a consensus by now, with over 99.83% of all climate change peer-reviewed articles concluding that global warming is happening; and if you had any doubts that it is us who are actually causing it, you can toss them away – time and time again, peer-reviewed study (as opposed to pseudoscientific claims the media still continues to highlight) has shown that we are the main cause.
Now, a new study published in Climate Risk Management concluded that climate change can be linked to human activities with a close to certain probability: 99.999%.
“The results of our statistical analysis would suggest that it is highly likely (99.999 percent) that the 304 consecutive months of anomalously warm global temperatures to June 2010 is directly attributable to the accumulation of global greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The corollary is that it is extremely unlikely (0.001 percent) that the observed anomalous warming is not associated with anthropogenic GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions. Solar radiation was found to be an insignificant contributor to global warming over the last century, which is consistent with the earlier findings of Allen et al. (2000).”, they write in the study.
To give you a sense of perspective, July 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month in which both global land and ocean average surface temperature exceeded the 20th-century monthly average. That’s almost 30 consecutive years, or put in a different way – it means that nobody born after February 1985 has lived a single month where the global temperature was below the long-term average for that month.
In order to reach this conclusion, researchers devised a statistical model relating global temperatures to well known and studied drivers of temperature change, including El Niño, solar radiation, volcanic aerosols and greenhouse gas concentrations. They tested it and generated results, comparing them with historical temperatures. Their analysis showed that having the same run of hot months has an extremely small probability.
“Our research team also explored the chance of relatively short periods of declining global temperature. We found that rather than being an indicator that global warming is not occurring, the observed number of cooling periods in the past 60 years strongly reinforces the case for human influence.
We identified periods of declining temperature by using a moving 10-year window (1950 to 1959, 1951 to 1960, 1952 to 1961, etc.) through the entire 60-year record. We identified 11 such short time periods where global temperatures declined.”
Ignoring the problem is no longer an option. Not taking responsibility is also off the table. It’s time to man up and start thinking in the long run.