All of the reports published by the IPCC over the last 25 years can be found here. The Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2013-14, is the latest one and can be found here. Probably the most important part of the documents are the Summary for Policymakers.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg; over the years, there have been many, many, many other authoritative expert reports on the science and economics of climate change. Here are a few other recent reports:
- 2014: Joint report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.K. Royal Society; here is a nice interactive booklet
- 2014: American Association for the Advancement of Science, What we know
- 2011: U.S. National Academy of Sciences, America's Climate Choices
Note that these are just a few recent expert assessments of climate science; these assessments go back literally decades. One of the earliest assessments was the Charney Report. It always amazes me how similar this report, written in 1979, is to the latest IPCC reports.
Numerous scientific societies have put out statements on climate change. Here are a few of the more important ones:
- American Geophysical Union
- American Meteorological Society
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
These three articles describe the conflicts that arise when finalizing the Summary for Policymakers. For an entertaining insider's view of the IPCC process, see this article by John Houghton, which describes the intrigue surrounding the 1995 meeting.
The IPCC's reports have had an enormous impact on the policy debate (which is the main reason the IPCC was awarded half of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize). Because of this, those opposed to action on climate have made bashing the IPCC a prime component in their assault on climate science. This YouTube video is a good example of the arguments they advance. But never forget this: even if you don't accept the IPCC reports, there are many other authoritative statements from other credible organizations that say exactly the same thing (e.g., the U.S. National Academy of Sciences).
In addition, the skeptical community has written it's own version of the IPCC, which they call the NIPCC. It argues just about the opposite of every point made by the IPCC report. Comic book aficionados will remember Bizarro Superman, a supervillian who is the opposite of Superman in every respect. I think of the NIPCC as Bizarro IPCC. Take a look at it here.
The public debate over the science
Why should you believe scientists? Watch this TED talk to find out.
Social scientists are hard at work studying the climate debate and trying to understand why there's so much disagreement. Yale's Dan Kahan has a great blog where he write about his work on this. Another great resource is the "Six Americas" report, which divides the U.S. population into 6 different segments, each one with its own view of the climate problem.
If you're in the mood for a long-form documentary, I recommend Frontline's Climate of Doubt. It's a great exposition of the machinery that is trying to manufacture doubt about climate science. If you look closely, you might see a familiar face or two.
See also the "MERCHANTS OF DOUBT" section of the resources for Chapter 13.
J.M. Stagg wrote a book in 1972 about forecasting the weather for D-Day entitled Forecast for Overlord, June 6, 1944. A historical novel on the subject is Turbulence by Giles Foden (2009).
The history of latitude and longitude is also fascinating. A good book on this is Longitude by Dava Sobel.
If you want to look at the climate for your hometown (or anywhere else), check out this NOAA web site.
The report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Smoke, Mirrors, and Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science, can be found here.