REPORTS AND PAPERS
In 1988 NASA scientist James Hansen warned lawmakers in the US Senate of the looming dangers presented by global warming, which humans were accelerating. In the same year the United Nations (UN) and the World Meteorological Organization (WHO) formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to report to world leaders on the science of climate change.
In 1990, the First IPCC Assessment Report (FAR) was published, underlining the importance of climate change as a challenge with global consequences and requiring international cooperation. It was followed by the 2nd (1995), 3rd (2001), 4th (2007) and 5th (2013-2014) with the 6th due in 2022.
On December 12, 2015 in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, the now-infamous Paris Agreement was written with an objective to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. It entered into force on November 4, 2016 by which time it had been ratified by 55 countries (accounting for 55% of global emissions). Within the following two years 197 countries — every nation on earth — signed on, including the U.S.
Unfortunately in the summer of 2017 President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. That takes effect on November 4, 2020.
In 2018, U.S. carbon emissions surged even as coal plants closed, rising by 3.4 percent just in that year alone, the biggest increase in eight years.
Also in 2018, came the Fourth National Climate Assessment Report, a U.S. report written for the president every four years. This report focused heavily on climate change’s impact on the American economy.
A stunning timeline, following our extraordinary lack of progress since 1988, was written by Paul Bledsoe and published in the New York Times on December 29, 2018. Many of the reports and papers referenced in this article appear in this CCR section.
That piece was almost immediately followed by Carbon Brief publishing a list of 2018 climate-change related papers most featured in the media. The infographic below shows which ones made it into the Top 10.