The Copenhagen Climate Congress final press release
This and other materials are available at the above URL.
Key Messages from the Congress
12 March 2009
Copenhagen, Denmark: Following a successful International Scientific
Congress Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions attended
by more than 2,500 delegates from nearly 80 countries, preliminary
messages from the findings were delivered by the Congress? Scientific
Writing Team. The conclusions will be published into a full synthesis
report June 2009. The conclusions were handed over to the Danish Prime
Minister Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen today. The Danish Government will
host the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009 and will hand
over the conclusions to the decision makers ahead of the Conference.
The six preliminary key messages are:
Key Message 1: Climatic Trends
Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed
emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse)
are being realised. For many key parameters, the climate system is
already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which
our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters
include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice
sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events.
There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate,
leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.
Key Message 2: Social disruption
The research community is providing much more information to support
discussions on ?dangerous climate change?. Recent observations show
that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate
change, with poor nations and communities particularly at risk.
Temperature rises above 2oC will be very difficult for contemporary
societies to cope with, and will increase the level of climate
disruption through the rest of the century.
Key Message 3: Long-Term Strategy
Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global
and regional action is required to avoid ?dangerous climate change?
regardless of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the
risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050
targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation
actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic
costs of both adaptation and mitigation.
Key Message 4 - Equity Dimensions
Climate change is having, and will have, strongly differential effects
on people within and between countries and regions, on this generation
and future generations, and on human societies and the natural world.
An effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those
people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a
common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the
poor and most vulnerable.
Key Message 5: Inaction is Inexcusable
There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many tools and
approaches ? economic, technological, behavioural, management ? to
deal effectively with the climate change challenge. But they must be
vigorously and widely implemented to achieve the societal
transformation required to decarbonise economies. A wide range of
benefits will flow from a concerted effort to alter our energy economy
now, including sustainable energy job growth, reductions in the health
and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of
ecosystems and revitalisation of ecosystem services.
Key Message 6: Meeting the Challenge
To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate
change challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints
and seize critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in
social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for
governments to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit
subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase
emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective
governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in
government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society
in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability.
Montreal QC Canada
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