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IPCC 4th Assessment Report

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  • Mike Neuman
    UN Given Roadmap to Meet Climate Challenge NEW YORK, New York, February 27, 2007 (ENS) - In order to avoid climate change becoming a catastrophe, the world
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2007
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      UN Given Roadmap to Meet Climate Challenge

      NEW YORK, New York, February 27, 2007 (ENS) - In order to avoid
      climate change becoming "a catastrophe," the world must ramp up
      efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and prepare to deal with more
      weather-related disasters and to help climate change refugees, an
      international panel of experts told the United Nations today.

      The panel's 166-page report outlines a strategy for preventing
      unmanageable climate changes and adapting to unavoidable ones, urging
      the international community to commit to the goal of trying to hold
      global temperature increases to 2.5 degrees Celsius.

      "Doing so would require very rapid success in reducing emissions of
      methane and black soot worldwide, and it would require that global
      carbon dioxide emissions level off by 2015 or 2020 at not much above
      their current amount, before beginning a decline to no more than a
      third of that level by 2100," the report said. "But the challenge of
      halting climate change is one to which civilization must rise."

      Failure to meet that target, the report said, will likely
      bring "intolerable impacts on human-welling being," by causing
      adverse impacts to agriculture, forestry, fisheries, the availability
      of fresh water, the geography of disease and the livability of human

      The Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change and Sustainable
      Development, consisting of 18 experts from 11 nations, was asked to
      make its recommendations by the United Nations.

      The report, prepared for the upcoming meeting of the UN's Commission
      on Sustainable Development, took two years to compile and was
      sponsored by the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society and the United
      Nations Foundation, a private group founded by U.S. cable television
      mogul Ted Turner.

      It comes in the wake of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
      Change's (IPCC) latest assessment of the science of climate change,
      which concluded that human activity, namely the burning of fossil
      fuels, is almost certainly changing the climate. If unabated,
      greenhouse gas emissions could push average global temperatures more
      than 6 degrees Celsius higher by century's end, the IPCC said, rising
      sea levels, increasing heat waves, droughts and severe weather

      "It is still possible to avoid an unmanageable degree of climate
      change, but the time for action is now," said report coauthor John
      Holdren, director of the Woods Hole Research Center and chairman of
      the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

      The study urges the international community to implement a new global
      policy framework to cut emissions, with a mechanism that establishes
      a price for carbon - either a tax or a cap-and-trade program.

      Policies to encourage energy efficiency and carbon-free energy are
      needed, according to the report, which called on the world to
      increase public and private energy technology research three- or four-
      fold to more than $45 billion a year.

      Research on carbon sequestration and clean coal technology is
      critical, the panel said, and the world should cease deploying coal-
      fired power plants absent those capable of "cost-effective and
      environmentally sound retrofits for capture and sequestration of
      their carbon emissions."

      The study recommends the United Nations and governments worldwide
      accelerate implementation of "win-win solutions" that can moderate
      climate change while also moving the world toward a more sustainable
      future energy path and making progress on the UN's Millennium
      Development Goals to alleviate global poverty and increase
      environmental sustainability.

      Such measures include improving transportation through increased
      efficiency standards and incentives for alternative-fuel cars, as
      well as greener commercial and residential buildings and an expansion
      of the use of biofuels.

      The UN and other international institutions must also help the
      world's poorer nations and most vulnerable communities prepare for
      climate change, the report said. In addition, the global community
      should discourage development on coastal land that is less than one
      meter above present high tide, as well as within high-risk areas such
      as floodplains, and ensure that the effects of climate change are
      considered in the design of protected areas and efforts to maintain

      "The world is experiencing climate disruption now and future
      increases in droughts, floods and sea-level rise will cause enormous
      human suffering and economic losses," said coauthor Rosina Bierbaum,
      former acting director of the White House Office of Science and
      Technology Policy. "We can manage water better, bolster disaster
      preparedness, increase surveillance for emerging diseases . . . and
      enhance local capacity to cope with a suite of expected changes."

      The full report can be found here:

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