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Published 27 September 2013 11:40, Updated 26 November 2013 12:10
To keep temperature increases below 2 degrees, the report finds global greenhouse gas emissions will need to be cut by 10 per cent a year, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Photo: Paul Jones
The hottest days in Australia will increase in temperature by up to 6 degrees and higher than previously predicted sea-level rises could decimate the Northern Territory’s Kakadu wetlands, according to an international scientific report to be released on Friday.
The latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the science of climate change, on which The Australian Financial Review has been briefed, are expected to upgrade the likelihood that man-made activity is causing global warming to 95 per cent.
It is now “unequivocal” Earth has warmed since the start of the 20th century by 0.89 degrees. In contrast, in 2001 the probability of this being the case was only 66 per cent.
The release of the report is set to intensify domestic political debate about the future of the carbon price scheme and the credibility of the Abbott government’s Direct Action policy in reducing emissions. A summary will be released in Stockholm around 7pm Australian eastern standard time on Friday.
To keep temperature increases below 2 degrees, the report finds global greenhouse gas emissions will need to be cut by 10 per cent a year.
But there is less confidence than the last report in 2007 that global drought or hurricane activity has increased. The new report also reduces the minimum possible temperature increase from 2 degrees to 1.5 degrees if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations double.
Importantly, the report responds to the slowing of temperature increases over the past decade. The slowing has been seized upon by critics of the IPCC as evidence man-made climate change is not occurring.
The IPCC says the slowdown is partly explained by an increase in aerosols – fine atmospheric particles – and the storage of heat in lower levels of the ocean has slowed surface warming.
It finds temperature increases will rapidly resume as a result of strict air quality measures. Further, the top-ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1997, and 2005 and 2010 were tied for the warmest year.