EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?

European Commission


Brussels, 27 September 2013

What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?

What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?And what if it wasn'tjust one doctor, but hundreds of the world's leading doctors?Would you just ignore them and continue business as usual or would you start looking for a cure? It's just common sense. The same logic applies to climate science. Today, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its latest report on climate science.The report says it is unequivocal that climate change is occurring and confirms there is at least 95% certainty that human activities are the principal cause.

In reaction to the report, Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said:''The issue is not whether to believe in climate change or not. The issue is whether to follow science or not. The day when all scientists with 100% certainty warn you against climate change, it will be too late. If your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious disease, you would immediately start looking for the cure. Why should we take bigger risks when it's the health of our planet at stake? Europe will continue to lead the fight against climate change.We have ambitious legislation in place. We are reducing our emissions considerably, expanding renewables and saving energy. And we are getting ready for the next step: climate and energy targets for 2030 that the Commission will present before the end of the year. The reality is that others are now following suit. Europe will continue to demand more action from all the emitters.''

Main findings

The IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, assesses the latest scientific knowledge on climate change. The working group finalised its 'Summary for Policymakers' earlier today in Stockholm. The Working Group 1 report is the first of four reports that together will form the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.

Overall, today's report confirms and strengthens the key findings of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, published in 2007. It draws on new evidence, more extensive observations, improved climate models, greater understanding of climate processes and a wider range of climate change projections.

Its key findings include:


The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to the understanding of climate change. Its assessment reports represent the consensus of thousands of scientists worldwide and are based on peer-reviewed and published scientific and technical literature covering multiple lines of analysis and datasets. For its Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice-President Al Gore.

Research projects funded under the EU's 6th and 7th Framework Programs for Research, as well as under the research programs of Member States, have contributed significantly to the IPCC reports. Climate change is a central element of the new Horizon 2020 research Framework Programme, where 35% of financial resources will be allocated to climate-related activities.

Further information

Video statement by Commissioner Hedegaard on theUN IPCC report on climate science:

For more information on the projects contributing to the observations of the climate system:MEMO/13/826

The Working Group 1 Summary for Policymakers is available here