'Global action' needed as IPCC report issues stark climate warning
Nov 17, 2007, 12:44 GMT
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon (C), delivers a speech as UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)\'s Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri (L), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)\'s Executive Director, Achim Steiner (R), look on during a press conference of 27th Session of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 17 November 2007 at Prince Felipe Museum, in Valencia, eastern Spain. EPA/Kai Foersterling
Valencia, Spain - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said 'global sweeping concerted action' was now needed on climate change, as the final 'synthesis' report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released Saturday.
The worst-case scenario envisaged by the report was as frightening as a science fiction film, Ban said.
The 20-page document by a UN-backed panel of scientists issues the strongest warnings yet on climate change.
The UN Secretary General praised the report which he said 'answered many of our questions on climate change.'
He said that the international community would now have to 'transform' its way of doing things in order to save the 'treasure of our planet.'
The final 'synthesis' report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is essentially a summary of three reports compiled by more than 2,000 scientists and issued by the IPCC earlier this year. The final report will be released in Valencia, Spain on Saturday by
Governments haggled for five days over the wording of this final IPCC document, which environmentalists say will serve as a manual on how to tackle global warming and set the tone for a crucial UN climate conference in Bali, Indonesia next month.
The new report makes clear that global warming is a man-made phenomenon and is already taking place. It warns of catastrophic and unavoidable consequences if the atmosphere warms by more than 2 degrees Celsius. Global temperatures have already risen about 0.7 degrees Celsius over the last 100 years.
To prevent that, the level of carbon dioxide in the world's atmosphere must start dropping by 2020. By 2050, global emissions must be 50 to 65 per cent below 2000 levels. The IPCC already says global warming cannot be stopped, only slowed.
Some of the newer elements of the report include one combined graphic that at a glance lays out specifically what levels of greenhouse gases lead to what rises in temperatures - and what consequences each temperature rise could have on society.
Possible threats include flooding, droughts, the loss of coastlines and thousands of animal and plant species, as well as more infectious diseases and the destruction of coral reefs.
The IPCC was last month awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with former US vice president Al Gore, for raising awareness of the threat of climate change.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur