Climate Change Picks Pace New IPCC Report Warns
Nairobi, 22 June 2009 - "The world faces a growing risk of "abrupt and irreversible climatic shifts," was the conclusion of report by international scientists issued on Thursday. The 36-page document summarized over 1,400 studies which were presented at a climate conference last March in Copenhagen attended by some 2,000 scientists from over 70 countries.
The research, which was written and reviewed by many of the scientists who compiled the benchmark UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2007, presents the newest scientific evidence that warns that ocean temperatures, sea levels, extreme climate conditions and the retreat of the Arctic sea ice have picked up more pace than experts predicted two years ago.
According to the report, huge stores of gases, such as methane which were trapped for millennia in the Arctic permafrost, may be starting to leak into the atmosphere. It stressed that deep and early emissions cuts are critical to slowing down the global warming process.
"Rapid, sustained and effective mitigation?is required to avoid 'dangerous climate change'," it said.
The report is intended to give inspiration to world leaders who will convene in Copenhagen in December to formalize the climate agreement that will follow the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.
While a series of reports released this week in the United States and Europe have indicated that climate change is posing a serious global threat, UN officials in a General Assembly meeting in New York on Thursday stressed that renewable and clean energy offer the world hope not only in combating climate change but also in reversing the global economic crisis.
Said UN General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto: "The prospects for renewable energy have never looked better, even in the face of recession." He added: "It would be an enormous step forward if this recovery were coupled with visionary policies, innovative technologies and broad incentives for new and renewable sources of energy."
In addressing the Assembly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that while climate change was a global threat, it was also generating a "world of opportunities". Said Mr. Ban: "The Green Economy is the wave of the future." He added: "We stand at a crossroads. One direction leads to an abyss. The other direction leads to sustainable, more prosperous, more stable world. The choice should be clear."
Also on Thursday, the Secretary General's Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group held its first meeting at UN Headquarters. The group, which is made up of business leaders and experts, will advise Mr. Ban on key issues in the runup to the climate meeting in Copenhagen.