The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s Fifth Assessment Report, the latest in a series of comprehensive reviews of climate science, will be completed in 2014. These reports are dense and packed with science, so the IPCC put together this video, which boils down the highlights of the panel’s work in language anyone can understand. The aim: get people up to speed on what’s happening with the world’s climate.
If watching the nine minute video is too big an ask, however, here are the highlights:
- Humans are driving climate change.
- Many of the observed recent changes to the climate and planet are unprecedented, on the order of decades to millennia.
- Each of the past three decades has been warmer than all other decades since 1850, and the last 10 years have been the warmest on record.
- Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution.
- CO2 levels are higher now than they’ve been for the past 800,000 years.
- Sea level has risen by more than 7 inches between 1900 and 2010.
- Climate models are becoming ever more sophisticated and now can project future impacts on a regional rather than just global scale.
- Choices we make today will determine whether the climate warms by just 2 degrees Celsius or more than 4 degrees.
- The changes currently underway represent a “multi-century” commitment to a very different planet.
More from Smithsonian.com: