Wild weather in Shetland The global temperature could rise between 1.1 and 6.4°C by the end of this century due to the high level of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere caused by human activities. The forecast was made by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its fourth assessment report published in 2007. It also predicted an increase in extreme weather.
A glance at the news most days – violent storms, heat waves, floods – provides ample evidence that the climate is changing. Research by The World Meterological Association published in July 2013 found that the 2001-2010 decade was the warmest since the start of modern measurements in 1850. At the same time, more national temperature records were broken than in any previous decade.
As a consequence, there was a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice and the loss of ice from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is accelerating. Global sea level over the decade was about 20cm higher than in 1880. CO2 levels are now at 400ppm – the last time they were this high was during the Pliocene era three million years ago, when sea levels were up to 30ft higher than they are today.
The global temperature could rise between 1.1 and 6.4°C by the end of this century.
The Copenhagen climate conference of 2009 agreed that deep cuts in CO2 emissions were required to hold the increase in global temperature below 2°C, although no binding commitments to achieve this goal were made. As a member of the European Union, the UK government is committed to sourcing 20 per cent of all its energy from renewables by 2020. The Scottish Government has set a target for 100 per cent of gross electricity consumption in Scotland to be from renewable sources by 2020.
Climate change is one of the main drivers of the rapid expansion of wind power around the globe to almost 300GW by the end of 2012. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) power generation from renewables will exceed that from gas by 2016 and be twice that from nuclear.
- "Climate Milestone: Earth’s CO2 Level Passes 400 ppm" - http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/energy/2013/05/130510-earth-co2-milestone-400-ppm/
- Global Wind Statistics 2013 - Global Wind Energy Council