During the same year the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations formed a joint organization: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This new body was charged to fairly and openly assess the science and socio-economic challenges that societies are facing in the light of climate change. To date, the IPCC has published four full assessment reports in 1990, 1995, 2001, 2007 and the most recent one in 2013. The reports are a comprehensive review of the current state of scientific knowledge about global climate change, bringing together evidence of changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, evidence of warming of the climate system, understanding of the human contribution to the observed warming, and projections of changes to the global climate expected during the next few centuries.
Meanwhile, other explorers roamed the earth, where they discovered hitherto unknown countries and ways of life. These encounters with other peoples often proved vicious. The trade and conquests that made European powers like Spain and Portugal immensely rich also brought the scourge of racism and colonial exploitation. In the eighteenth century, Britain's expansion into an empire was fueled by slavery and the slave trade, a source of profit that belied the national self-image as a haven of liberty and turned British people against one another. Rising prosperity at home had been built on inhumanity across the seas. This topic, "Slavery and the Slave Trade in Britain," looks at the experiences of African slaves as well as at British reactions to their suffering and cries for freedom. At the end of the eighteenth century, as many writers joined the abolitionist campaign, a new humanitarian ideal was forged. The modern world invented by the eighteenth century brought suffering along with progress. We still live with its legacies today.