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UN climate change projections made in 1990 'coming true'

Categories: Community, Science & Technology

Activists march to demand action to address climate change during the Doha climate negotiations. (Mohammed Dabbous/Reuters)

Climate change projections made over two decades ago have stood the test of time, according to a report published Monday in the journal Nature.

The world is warming at a rate that is consistent with forecasts made by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 22 years ago.

Climate scientists from around the world forecasted the global mean temperature trend for a 40 year period, from 1990 to 2030 - and at this halfway point the report authors have found the projections "seem accurate" after accounting for natural fluctuations.

In fact, they add, the climate scientists' work is "all the more remarkable in hindsight" because they used simpler computer models at the time and could not have foreseen several external factors. Greenhouse-gas induced warming, the authors note, had even more of an impact than the scientists expected.

Professor Matt England from the University of New South Wales is among those highlighting the findings with strong words.

"We've sat back and watched the two decades unfold and warming has progressed at a rate consistent with those projections," said England, who is also Deputy Director of the school's Climate Change Research Centre.

"Anybody out there lying that the IPCC projects are overstatements or that the observations haven't kept pace with the projections is completely off line with this ... the analysis is very clear that the IPCC projections are coming true."

England added that continued inaction on greenhouse gas emissions, is likely to result in the "high-end IPCC scenarios that are extremely costly to society in terms of extreme events bearing out in time."

-- With files from The Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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Tags: environment, World

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