1.1. UNFCCC Executive Secretary calls for speedy and decisive international action on climate change
2 February 2007
Against the background of the most conclusive scientific evidence to date that the warming of the climate system is unequivocal and accelerating, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer, today called for speedy and decisive international action to combat the phenomenon.
According to a report released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Friday, the world faces an average temperature rise of around 3°C this century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current pace and are allowed to double from their pre-industrial level.
“The findings, which governments have agreed upon, leave no doubt as to the dangers mankind is facing and must be acted upon without delay. Any notion that we do not know enough to move decisively against climate change has been clearly dispelled,” Mr. de Boer said.
The new report says that warming during the last 100 years was 0.74 °C, with most of the warming occurring during the past 50 years. The warming per decade for the next 20 years is projected to be 0.2 °C per decade.
“It is politically significant that all the governments have agreed to the conclusions of the scientists, making this assessment a solid foundation for sound decision making,” Mr. de Boer said. The United Nations’ top climate change official called on governments to provide the necessary leadership and to move negotiations under the auspices of the UN forward.
“The world urgently needs new international agreement on stronger emission caps for industrialized countries, incentives for developing countries to limit their emissions, and support for robust adaptation measures,” he said.
According to the Stern review issued last year by the UK government, an average temperature rise of 3°C would translate into severe water shortages and lower crop yields around the world, with climate change already causing setbacks to economic and social progress in developing countries.
An assessment by the IPCC of the impacts of climate change will be released in early April.
1.2. New report from the world’s leading scientists underlines the need for urgent global action
2 February 2007 , EC
European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas called for an urgent start to international negotiations on a comprehensive new global climate change agreement following today’s publication of alarming scientific evidence by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The consensus report from IPCC Working Group I (WG1) projects that, without more action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the global average temperature is likely to rise by a further 1.8-4.0°C this century, after increasing by over 0.7°C in the past 100 years. Even the low end of this range would take the temperature rise since pre-industrial times to above 2°C, the level at which there could be irreversible and possibly catastrophic consequences. The pace of global warming and sea-level rise has increased. The recent observations and measurements reflected in the report dispel any doubts that the global climate is changing and that human activities have caused most of the changes observed in the past 50 years.
Commissioner Dimas said: "I am deeply concerned at the accelerating pace and the increasing extent of climate change that it shows. It is now more urgent than ever that the international community gets down to serious negotiations on a comprehensive new worldwide agreement to stop global warming. To stabilise global emissions of greenhouse gases, the next step must be for developed countries to cut their emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020, as the Commission proposed last month.”
Main report findings
The WG1 report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, assesses the latest scientific knowledge on climate change and constitutes the first part of the IPCC’s forthcoming Fourth Assessment Report. It confirms the main findings of the Third Assessment Report from 2001, but many results can now be better quantified and there is even higher confidence in them.
Its key conclusions include the following:
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and iceand rising sea level.
It is “very likely” that increases in man-made greenhouse gas emissions have caused most of the rise in globally averaged temperatures since the middle of the 20th century. It is “extremely unlikely” that this warming was due to natural climate variability alone.
During the last 100 years the Earth has warmed by 0.76°C on average, and the rate of warming has further increased. The 11 warmest years on record have all occurred in the last 12 years. The second half of the 20th century was the warmest period in the northern hemisphere for at least 1,300 years. Europe has warmed by about 1°C over the past 100 years, faster than the global average.
Based on scenarios that assume no further action is taken to limit emissions, the best estimates of the projected further rise in the global average temperature by 2100 range from 1.8 to 4.0°C The full uncertainty range for projected global warming this century is 1.1-6.4°C .
Rates of observed sea level rise almost doubled from 18 centimeters per century in 1961-2003 to 31 cm per century in 1993-2003.
The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has continued to increase due to man-made emissions, and the rate of increase has further accelerated. Current concentrations of CO2 and methane are the highest for at least 650,000 years.
New research indicates that plants and soils will absorb less CO2 as the world warms. Hence, a larger fraction of the CO2 emitted will remain in the atmosphere, and the magnitude of climate change caused by a given level of emissions will be larger than previously thought.
Extreme weather events have increased and regional climate patterns are changing. Heat waves and other weather extremes, as well as changes in atmospheric circulation patterns, storm tracks and precipitation, can now be traced back to climate change caused by human activities.
Scientists have improved their ability to predict future climate change. Confidence in regional climate change projections has increased due to better models and more powerful computers. The temperature over land and at high northern latitudes will be higher than the global average. In the Arctic it could be on average 6°C – and possibly as much as 8°C – warmer by the end of this century than at the end of the 20th.
Further information at www.ipcc.ch.
1.3. Chirac tells U.S. to sign climate accord or face taxes
1 February 2007