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Amid Worrisome Signs of Warming, 'Climate Fatigue' Sets In

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Science  13 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5955, pp. 926-928
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5955.926

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Summary

This September, the United Nations Environment Programme issued a report that, according to a UNEP press release, showed that "the pace and scale of climate change may now be outstripping even the most sobering predictions of the last report of the … IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]." In the foreword of the UNEP report, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered the intended take-home message: The report "is a wake-up call. The time for hesitation is over." In the run-up to next month's climate summit in Copenhagen, some researchers have argued that the worsening prospects for Earth's climate system make the negotiations all the more urgent. Others, however, say the picture since the IPCC report is more complicated than that—though no brighter. And some anticipated climate changes are actually behind schedule, at least for the time being, notes the U.K. Meteorological Office.