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Definition and Assessment of Climate Change

Definition

Climate change is any long-term change in the statistics of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It can express itself as a change in the mean weather conditions, the probability of extreme conditions, or in any other part of the statistical distribution of weather. Climate change may occur in a specific region, or across the whole Earth. 

Assessment

The finding that the climate has warmed in recent decades and that this warming is likely attributable to human influence has been endorsed by every national science academy that has issued a statement on climate change, including the science academies of all of the major industrialized countries. At present, no scientific body of national or international standing has issued a dissenting statement. A small minority of professional associations have issued noncommittal statements.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has offered the most compelling assessments of global warming and the influence of human activity on it.  IPCC reports are widely cited in almost any debate related to climate change.  National and international responses to climate change generally regard the UN climate panel as authoritative.

The global warming controversy is a dispute regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming. The controversy is significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature.