The Royal Soc and NAS have produced Climate Change: Evidence & Causes. From the official doc we have: The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea-level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate-related changes. EWW says this in his quick intro (go on, its only 1:20, watch it) but he adds “…but so far, they are relatively modest, but if we continue emitting carbon dioxide without any abatement, the effects will get really large by the end of the century… we present this report as the state of the science as it is, the basis on which people – governments – the world as a whole – to decide: whether to do anything, what to do, whether to reduce emissions or whether to let them happen and prepare for the consequences”.
I very much like this way of putting it, and its pretty well what I’d have said myself, particularly the last bit.
Browsing through the report – a sequence of Q&A’s – it covers most of the ground you’d expect in about the sequence you’d expect.
Are climate changes of a few degrees a cause for concern?
Asks Q 17. And the answer is:
Yes. Even though an increase of a few degrees in global average temperature does not sound like much, global average temperature during the last ice age was only about 4 to 5 °C (7 to 9 °F) colder than now. Global warming of just a few degrees will be associated with widespread changes in regional and local temperature and precipitation as well as with increases in some types of extreme weather events. These and other changes (such as sea level rise and storm surge) will have serious impacts on human societies and the natural world.
which seems fair. Will it, and the rest, convince the “skeptics”? No, of course not, because they aren’t open to argument, and because they likely won’t read it anyway. Or, to be slightly fairer to those “skeptics” who are capable of rationality (not a large constituency, so largely ignored by all sides): whilst it does cover some of the problems (“Why is Arctic sea ice decreasing while Antarctic sea ice is not?”) it only has the space to sketch in an answer, and it doesn’t refer you elsewhere for more details.
Will it be read by interested observers, government folk, school children, those wishing to be informed? Quite likely. For those for whom the full weight of IPCC AR5 is too scary and complex, this is a decent simplification of the main points.
ZOMG are we all going to die?
Yes, of course, we will all die eventually. But not of GW. Or, more seriously, Are disaster scenarios about tipping points like ‘turning off the Gulf Stream’ and release of methane from the Arctic a cause for concern? gets:
Results from the best available climate models do not predict abrupt changes in such systems (often referred to as tipping points) in the near future. However, as warming increases, the possibilities of major abrupt change cannot be ruled out… Such high-risk changes are considered unlikely in this century, but are by definition hard to predict. Scientists are therefore continuing to study the possibility of such tipping points beyond which we risk large and abrupt changes.
Where I’d criticise the report is in the leading you on to further deeper reading. There’s a list of sources at the very end – what you’d expect, IPCC AR5 etc – but they aren’t really folded into individual sections, so anyone wanting to know more about any individual topic would then be faced with navigating AR5 for themselves, which is no easy task. They should have provided “further reading” and/or direct citations for each of the individual sections.
Oh, and I’ll also criticise the lighting in the video. Will W, where were you? The light from the lamp needs to spill over Eric’s face making him look like a kindly uncle, not on the wall leaving him in shadow like a ringwraith.