The United Nations released a long-awaited report on climate change today, and it turns out that regardless of what Rush Limbaugh believes, it is in fact "extremely likely" humans have caused all this global warming. Sorry to disillusion you.
The report was compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a team of U.N.-assembled top climate change scientists; though only a summary was released today, scientists did acknowledge that there's a 95% chance that humans are global warming's primary—or only—cause. "Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes,” the report read. “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” A report in 2007 said humans' hand in climate change was "very likely," so things have clearly gotten more serious over the past few years.
After affirming that humans really are killing polar bears one adorable cub at a time, though, the summary did suggest that the world isn't warming quite as terrifyingly fast as they believed it was six years ago. Previous calculations, for instance, said sea-levels could rise up to five feet by the end of the 21st century; this report marked the rise at three feet. They also knocked the minimum temperature increase down by a degree (from 3.6-8.1 degrees Fahrenheit to 2.7-8.1 degrees) and that carbon-dioxide emissions might not effect the Earth as much as previously believed.
But the IPCC says even these minor adjustments don't minimize climate change's devastating impact. "Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time,” said Thomas F. Stocker, the IPCC's co-chairman, said in a statement. “In short, it threatens our planet, our only home.” The panel suggests it is imperative that humanity as a whole cut back on greenhouse gas emissions immediately, though it's unclear whether or not certain individuals/political parties will rope themselves in along with the rest of those paltry humans.