Stockholm, 27 September 2013 – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today approved the first of a series of four reports that will make up the Fifth Assessment Report (1). It warns of an alarming escalation of impacts – but also shows that preventing climate chaos is still possible.
"The only logical response to a warning of this magnitude is immediate action. Unfortunately those who are taking this action are now in prison in Russia, while those that are most responsible are protected by governments around the world," said Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace International.
Tunmore was referring to the 28 Greenpeace International activists, as well as a freelance photographer and a freelance videographer, who have been remanded in custody in Russia pending investigations into a peaceful Arctic oil protest last week.
"In the Arctic and around the world we are reaching a series of tipping points. From the Keystone pipeline in the US to Gezi park in Turkey and to oil rigs in the melting ice, citizens are fighting the tired mistakes of the 20th century and demanding a new approach. The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end. The only question is how fast we leave it behind," Tunmore added.
The signals on accelerating climate impacts make truly disturbing reading. In the past decade (2002-2011), the Greenland Ice Sheet melted at a rate six times faster, on average, than the decade before. Antarctic melting was five times faster. Since 1993 sea-levels have risen twice as fast as in the past century on average while the Arctic sea ice has diminished significantly faster than projected.
The IPCC sets out different possible futures for our emissions and related impacts. The scenario that keeps warming below 2 degrees Celsius implies that fossil fuel emissions will need to stop growing by 2020 and reach zero by around 2070. (2)
“The strongest take away from this report is that we still have a choice. We can keep within the limits that governments themselves have agreed to but so far failed to act on,” said Tunmore.
“Either we continue to stoke the fires of climate change by burning fossil fuels, or we turn a different corner and capitalise on the renewable energy breakthrough that has already begun. There’s a better future than the one we’re currently facing and it’s ours if we want it.”
Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International climate campaigner, +44 7796 947 451,
Jesper Liveröd, Greenpeace Nordic, communications & media, + 46 70 340 54 14,
Greenpeace International press desk: +31 20 718 24 70,
1. The IPCC is most known for its comprehensive Assessment Reports that are published about every six years, since 1990, in a process that spans over 3 years. The work takes place in three working groups (WG). In 2013-2014 the 5th Assessment Report will be approved in four pieces:
- The WG 1 report: The Physical Science Basis, 23-26 Sep 2013, Stockholm, Sweden
- The WG 2 report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, 25-29 Mar 2014, Yokohama, Japan
- The WG 3 report: Mitigation of Climate Change, 7-11 Apr 2014, Berlin, Germany
- AR5 Synthesis Report (SYR), 27-31 October 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark
2. AR5, WG1, Technical Summary, Figure TS.19