A new report has confirmed the world is warming at a rate consistent with a 22-year-old prediction from the United Nations' science body.
In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast the rate at which temperatures would rise over a 40-year period.
Doha climate talk decisions
- Conference agrees to extend Kyoto Protocol until 2020.
- Russia objects to conference rushing through protocol extension.
- Kyoto Protocol remains the only legally-binding plan.
- Nations recognise need to compensate poor countries.
A report published today in the journal Nature Climate Change says that at the halfway mark, the rate of warming is consistent with the original predictions.
Professor Matt England from the University of New South Wales says the findings send a message to doubters.
"Anybody out there lying that the IPCC projects are overstatements or that the observations haven't kept pace with the projections is completely off line with this ... the analysis is very clear that the IPCC projections are coming true," he said.
The analysis is very clear that the IPCC projections are coming true.
Professor Matt England on the IPCC's 1990 forecast
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"We've sat back and watched the two decades unfold and warming has progressed at a rate consistent with those projections."
Recent climate change reports have shown global emissions are increasing by 3 per cent per year, with emissions now sitting at 58 per cent above 1990 levels.
Professor England says the IPCC has prepared forecasts for low levels of emissions right through to the high end.
"At the moment we are tracking at the high end in terms of our emissions and so all of the projections that we look to at the moment are those high-end forecasts," he said.
"Without any action on greenhouse gas emissions, it will be those high-end IPCC scenarios that are extremely costly to society in terms of extreme events bearing out in time."
The finding has been released in the wake of the latest climate talks in Doha, Qatar, which some critics say achieved little.
At the marathon talks, which had to be extended due to lack of consensus, almost 200 nations, including Australia, agreed to extend the Kyoto protocol till 2020.
But the world's worst emitters, such as the US and China, are not part of that agreement.
Green groups say the Doha talks delivered a weakened Kyoto Protocol and no new money for helping poorer nations achieve cuts in emissions.
But Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says the talks were a stepping stone towards striking a deal by 2015 that will include biggest polluters.
"The science is telling us very clearly that we need a wider international agreement including all the major emitters, including the US and China, they're the biggest polluters in the world," he said.
"At this conference we've taken further steps towards having those countries included in a wider agreement.
"The Kyoto protocol is just a stepping stone on that path."