World must act "hastily"... looks like a job for carfree cities!
EXPERTS WARN OF 'ABRUPT' WARNING
A UN panel has agreed a landmark report on climate change, and says the
world must act hastily to prevent the worst predicted effects coming to
After arduous talks in Valencia, Spain, scientists agreed a document
they hope will shape debate on the next phase of the fight against
It declared the fact of global warming "unequivocal", and said it may
bring "abrupt and irreversible" impacts.
The text will be officially launched by UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday.
Delegates to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
summarised thousands of pages of scientific analysis, bringing together
elements of the three reports already released this year, on the science
of climate change, impacts and adaptation, and options for mitigating
"This is the strongest report yet by the IPCC - but says that there is
still time to act," Bill Hare, an Australian climate scientist and one
of the authors, told Reuters.
Among the report's top-line conclusions are that climate change is
"unequivocal", that humankind's emissions of greenhouse gases are more
than 90% likely to be the main cause, and that impacts can be reduced at
The synthesis summary finalised late on Friday strengthens the language
of those earlier reports with a warning that climate change may bring
"abrupt and irreversible" impacts.
Such impacts could include the fast melting of glaciers and species
"Climate change is here, it's impacting our lives and our economies, and
we need to do something about it," commented Hans Verolme, director of
the climate change programme with the environmental group WWF.
"After this report, there are no politicians left who can argue they
don't know what climate change is or they don't know what to do about it."
* Local witnesses *
At a news conference, WWF presented testimonies from "climate change
witnesses" in various parts of the world.
Speaking by video link, Australian scientists and fishermen spoke of the
changes they were seeing on the Great Barrier Reef. And Olav Mathis
Eira, a Sami reindeer herder from Norway, said that his communities are
seeing weather patterns unprecedented in their oral history.
"Winter is one-and-a-half months later than it used to be," he said. "We
observed birds and insects that do not have a name in Sami."
The 20-page synthesis summary by the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC will be
accompanied by a longer, more detailed document.
The findings will feed into the next round of negotiations on the UN
climate convention and Kyoto Protocol, which open in Bali on 3 December.
"The report sends a very strong signal to Bali," said Mr Verolme of the
WWF. "Now it's up to the politicians."
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