Climate change is happening now


In letters (CVI 23/3/22) Mr Smith (‘Climate Change?’) criticises “reliance on IPCC reports… rather than robust science.”

I find it difficult to think of a better way to address a question on which we are uncertain (think back say, to ‘does smoking cause lung cancer’?) than to ask scientists from all around the world to submit their research and debate the question.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is not a dozen or so researchers sitting around in a closed room. Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to, or assess, the many scientific papers published each year. Debate is open and transparent. Over the years, since the IPCC’s inception in 1988, points of dissent have ultimately improved the knowledge base. Participation in the IPCC process is voluntary and encouraged.

A Summary for Policy Makers is produced with each IPCC report. Every word of this Summary is agreed by all the 195 member countries of the IPCC. I do think then that we can be reasonably confident of the conclusions in the latest IPCC Sixth Assessment report.  These are that climate change is happening now, it is bringing hardship and heartache all around the world, it will get worse, and in the next decades we need a mighty effort to plan how we could adapt to it.

Judith McNeill, Yamba