Written by Kevin Wafula
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released Friday its fifth IPCC report that confirms human activities are at the core on climate change. But contrary to hled views, climate change is advancing even faster than realized.
Reacting to the report, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, the UN's top climate change official, said the findings of the latest IPCC report on climate change are a clarion call for the global community to accelerate efforts to combat climate change and steer humanity out of the danger zone.
"The report shows that there is more clarity about human-generated climate change than ever before. We know that the total effort to limit warming does not add up to what is needed to bend the emissions curve. To steer humanity out of the high danger zone, governments must step up immediate climate action and craft an agreement in 2015 that helps to scale up and speed up the global response," Executive Secretary Figueres said from the United States, during her mission to the current UN General Assembly in New York.
Governments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have agreed to limit the global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. They have also agreed to assess the adequacy of this limit and progress towards this goal using the best science, including this IPCC report. This formally agreed international review will conclude in 2015 in Paris, at the same time as the new, universal climate agreement.
"As the results from the latest and best available science become clearer, the challenge becomes more daunting, but simultaneously the solutions become more apparent. These opportunities need to be grasped across society in mutually reinforcing ways by governments at all levels, by corporations, by civil society and by individuals," said Ms. Figueres.
"Thankfully, momentum to fight climate change is building. We know that success is possible. We have the technology, funding and ability to respond. The many successes at domestic, international and private sector levels to build a low-carbon society shine light on the way forward, but we do need to quickly go to scale," she added.
Andrew Steer, President, World Resources Institute said the world can parse the details and have a rational discussion about solutions, but we ignore these scientific warnings at our own peril.
“Our experience confirms what the world’s leading scientists are saying. Extreme weather events and climate impacts are taking a grave toll on people and economies. Heat waves are occurring more often; glaciers and ice sheets are melting faster; and seas are rapidly rising. There have been 342 consecutive months – more than 28 years – where global temperatures have been above the 20thcentury average.
“The costs multiply every day. Droughts disrupt food supplies. Rising seas displace populations. Hurricanes and typhoons wreak havoc on communities worldwide. Climate change is not only profoundly unjust – hurting especially the poor, who have done least to cause it – it is also undermining prospects for future economic growth.
It’s not too late to change course, says Steer but we need an urgent response based on the mounting evidence. We need to find pathways to low-carbon, economic growth. We need actions that will reduce global emissions, expedite the shift to clean energy, and enhance the resilience of our communities. We know that the costs of action on climate change are modest, and are dwarfed by the costs of inaction.
“Future generations are depending on us to wake up to this global challenge. It’s time for our leaders to answer the call.”
Governments meeting for the next round of UN climate change negotiations in Warsaw from 11 to 22 November will consider the IPCC findings on the science of climate change in the context of the UNFCCC review.
The final installment, an overall summary for policy makers, is due in October 2014, shortly before the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru.