STOCKHOLM — Scientists can now say with extreme confidence that human activity is the dominant cause of the global warming observed since the 1950s, a new report by an international scientific group said Friday.
Calling man-made warming "extremely likely," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used the strongest words yet on the issue as it adopted its assessment on the state of the climate system.
In its previous assessment, in 2007, the U.N.-sponsored panel said it was "very likely" that global warming was man-made.
One of the most contentious subjects in the report was how to deal with a purported slowdown in warming in the past 15 years. Climate skeptics say this "hiatus" casts doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change.
Many governments had objections over how the issue was treated in earlier drafts and some had called for it to be deleted altogether.
In the end, the panel made only a brief mention of the issue in the summary for policymakers, stressing that short-term records are sensitive to natural variability and don't in general reflect long-term trends.
The full 2,000-page report isn't going to be released until Monday, but the summary for policymakers with the key findings was published Friday.