The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has done its job over the course of the last two decades and given the world enough answers to generally conclude the science on global warming is now settled. To accomplish this, thousands of scientists, for years, donated their evenings, weekends, any free time they had in a selfless effort to answer the questions that needed answers. Hours they could have spent working on their tenure, or publishing career-enhancing papers and books. The Nobel Peace Prize was one big thank you from the world. But the scientific community is tired and their valuable time should not be taken for granted. And there is that other little factor that time is running out. So what should be the next step now that their last reports are done?
There will be some pressure from sticklers (obstructionists) who want them to go back... dot the I's and cross the T's to bring another notch of confidence to the science. (Those are the people who get 100 opinions on where to have dinner when three would do!) But there isn't time. We need to move on and fast.
What they need to focus on now is mitigation and sea level rise. Sea level rise because the scientists have seen changes in Greenland and Antarctica's glacial melt the last five years that they previously never thought possible. Mitigation because we are now facing a now-or-never scenario. What really are our options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Which are ready to use? Which require more development? If we are close, what are the impediments to making it happen? Where should we be seriously investing our time and money? As Al Gore said at the closing concert in Oslo last night, "Let's get on with it."
Strong leadership and marching orders for the IPCC can help make that happen.
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