Latest information: The Science of Climate Change: questions and answers
This publication aims to address confusion created by contradictory information in the public domain. It sets out to explain the current situation in climate science, including where there is consensus in the scientific community and where uncertainties exist. The document is structured around seven questions:
- What is climate change
- How has Earth’s climate changed in the distant past?
- How has climate changed during the recent past?
- Are human activities causing climate change?
- How do we expect climate to evolve in the future?
- What are the consequences of climate change?
- How do we deal with the uncertainty in the science?
The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers was prepared by a Working Group of nine members, co-chaired by Drs Ian Allison and Mike Raupach FAA, FTSE. The document was also reviewed by an Oversight Committee of seven members chaired by Professor John Zillman AO, FAA, FTSE.
Separate figure files are available for download below.
Please accredit the sources as noted, after 2010 The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers, Australian Academy of Science.
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Australian Academy of Science endorsement of statement on ocean acidification by the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP) (1 June 2009)
The Academy joined with academies of sixty nine other countries around the world to endorse the IAP statement on ocean acidification. The release of the statement was timed to coincide with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn that week.
A submission to the Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy (9 April 2009)
Australia has and will continue to have a variable climate. The important question is to know the extent that this variability may change as a result of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Academy of Science notes the need for research on regional predictions of climate change, and on direct effects of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations on terrestrial and marine ecosystems, both managed and unmanaged. The knowledge provided will inform economic and social decision-making and in particular, those decisions relating to ‘insurance’ that emission reductions represent for Australia.
The Australian Academy of Science's comments on the Joint science academies from G8+5 countries statement on climate change (1 July 2008)
The Australian Academy of Science endorses the concerns expressed in the statement. As recently summarised by the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the increases in global average temperature and sea level are unambiguous and are almost certainly primarily due to greenhouse gas emissions. The Academy also notes that there remains considerable uncertainty in the mechanisms of climate change and that there is a need to examine and develop business models to bring to market the results of research on new technologies that will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Summary of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Synthesis Report (20 November 2007)
The National Committee for Earth System Science has prepared a summary of the most recent IPCC assessment. The IPCC had prepared a synthesis of the conclusions of the three Working Groups. Each Working Group released their major reports earlier in 2007 summarising the worldwide research findings up to 2006. These reports cover the physical science of climate change; impacts adaptation and vulnerability to climate change; and mitigation of climate change.
The great global warming swindle (12 July 2007)
Comments by the Academy’s National Committee for Earth System Science on the ‘Great global warming swindle’ TV program aired on ABC television on 12 July 2007. The program is a slick, hyped-up, graphics-enhanced, deceptively fraudulent in parts, production focusing on a carefully selected subset of out dated hypotheses that for the most part have been shown by the scientific method to be unacceptable on evidence so far.
Verdict remains the same: the CO2 is guilty (12 July 2007)
The Australian Academy of Science maintains the view that recent global warming is caused by unprecedented CO2 levels in the atmosphere, despite claims made in a recent documentary.
On the edge of global calamity (7 February 2007)
An opinion piece by Academy President Professor Kurt Lambeck following the release of the fourth Assessment Report from IPCC (Published in The Australian, 7 February 2007.). While much has already been said about the fourth and latest Assessment Report of IPCC, the basic facts are undeniable, indisputable and confirmed by the best minds the world can bring to bear on the subject: human release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has and will continue to cause global warming for many decades.
Global warming – let’s not lose another five years (2 February 2007)
It’s official: human-induced climate change is a real and serious threat to our planet — so it’s time for government and industry to take action to reduce the pace of change and give societies and ecosystems extra time to adapt.
Academy's stern message on climate change report (31 October 2006)
Let's get on with it now! – that's the message, loud and clear, from Australian Academy of Science President Professor Kurt Lambeck in commenting on the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change.
Sea level in a changing climate environment (23 August 2006)
Address to the National Press Club by Professor Kurt Lambeck, President, Australian Academy of Science.
The changing atmosphere in 2005 (21 February 2005)
Public lecture by Professor F Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Laureate.
International Climate Change Science: Australia’s role, links and opportunities (18 December 2003)
This is a report prepared by the Academy for the Australian Greenhouse Office. It discusses:
- International climate change science and its significance to Australia
- Alignment considerations for Australia
- Australia’s international scientific leverage, and
- Makes recommendations for Australia’s international role and research
Relevant topics in Nova: Science in the News:
- Impact of global warming on biodiversity Global warming on the scale predicted by scientists could have major consequences for Australia's biodiversity. Are we doing anything about it?
- Warmer and sicker? Global warming and human health Continued warming of the planet could have significant implications for human health. Coping with extreme heat waves will be just one of our concerns.
- Getting into hot water – global warming and rising sea levels The 20th century saw the greatest increase in temperature of any century during the last thousand years, and the last decade was the warmest since records began. As the temperature rises, so does the sea level – with profound consequences for us all.
- Coral bleaching – will global warming kill the reefs? Coral reefs are sensitive to environmental change. Recently, the frequency and distribution of coral bleaching have increased, and in 2002 the Great Barrier Reef experienced its worst case of coral bleaching on record.