IPCC Report Shows Urgent Need For Emission Cuts
Climate change: IPCC report highlights urgent need for negotiations on global emission cuts
European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas welcomed as 'vital reading for decision-makers' the synthesis report published on Saturday by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The synthesis report summarises the key conclusions of the IPCC's latest scientific assessment of climate change, the Fourth Assessment Report, which was released in three parts earlier this year.
"The Fourth Assessment Report is a milestone in our scientific knowledge about climate change and the grave threats global warming poses to the planet," Commissioner Dimas said.
"The report's findings amount to a stark warning that the world must act fast to slash greenhouse gas emissions if we are to prevent climate change from reaching devastating levels. The good news is that it also shows that deep emission cuts are both technologically feasible and economically affordable."
He added: "This synthesis report is vital reading for decision-makers everywhere ahead of the UN climate change conference in Bali starting in just over two weeks. It fully supports the EU policy that global warming must be limited to no more than 2ºC above the pre-industrial temperature. The global community must respond to this scientific call for action by agreeing in Bali to launch negotiations on a comprehensive and ambitious new global climate agreement. Efforts will be needed by all major emitters if we are to have a chance of controlling climate change before it is too late."
The key findings of the 4th Assessment Report confirm the analysis underlying the EU climate and energy package presented by the Commission last January and endorsed by the European Council in March:
* Climate change is accelerating and is almost certainly caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.
* Climate change is already affecting people
* Global emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced drastically and urgently
* These emission reductions can be achieved
* Society must adapt to climate change
Responding to this strong call for action, the EU has embarked on a transition towards a low carbon economy and is now putting in place bold concrete actions to slash emissions in the EU, including efforts at the European level as well as by all Member States.
The key elements of EU action are:
* a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, that will be strengthened to 30% reduction in the context of a fair global agreement;
* a firm target to increase the use of renewable energy to 20% by 2020;
* a broad range of measures to improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2020;
* further evolution and strengthening of the EU's emissions trading scheme;
* an ambitious limit to CO2 emissions from cars;
* a framework for introducing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in power production;
* development of an effective adaptation strategy;
The synthesis report forms the final part of "Climate Change 2007", the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. The other three parts were released earlier this year and covered the physical science of climate change (see IP/07/128), impacts, adaptation and vulnerability (see IP/07/491) and ways to mitigate climate change (see IP/07/610).
The IPCC assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for understanding the risk of man-made climate change. Its reports are based mainly on peer-reviewed and published scientific and technical literature. The assessments are produced by three working groups which bring together hundreds of leading experts from around the world.
The reports thus represent the most authoritative global scientific consensus on climate change. Research projects funded under the EU's Framework Programmes on research, as well as under research programmes by individual Member States, have contributed significantly to these reports.
The IPCC was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize jointly with former US Vice-President Al Gore "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change".