Greenpeace challenged Governments to step up to the plate and take immediate action, after the strongest warnings yet from the international scientific community on the threat of dangerous climate change unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced.
The latest report on the science of climate change from the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Paris,
concludes that continuing business-as-usual practices is likely to
increase global average temperatures between 1.1°C and 6.4° C above
1980-1999 levels by 2095, leading to more droughts, heatwaves,
floods and stronger hurricanes, rapid melting of ice-sheets and
rapidly rising sea levels.
"The good news is our understanding of the climate system and
our impact on it has improved immensely. The bad news is that the
more we know, the more precarious the future looks. There's a clear
message to Governments here, and the window for action is narrowing
fast. If the last IPCC report was a wake up call, this one is a
screaming siren," said Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International
Climate & Energy Campaigner in Paris.
Some of the major findings include:
- Human impact on climate has now been attributed with a 90
percent confidence, higher than in earlier assessments, and has
been found in all world regions.
- An increase in the theoretical climate 'sensitivity', i.e., how
the climate will respond to a doubling of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere compared to pre-industrial levels. Previously, the best
estimate for warming in relation to GHG doubling was 2.5 degrees
centigrade, and now that has increased to 3 degrees
- Broad confirmation that the range of warming expected by 2100
if emissions are not reduced is 1.1°C and 6.4°C by 2095 over
1980-1999 levels (1).
- The intensity of tropical storms is likely to increase, a
finding that was not possible in the Third Assessment Report (TAR).
Observed increases in intensity are highly correlated with
increased sea surface temperature.
- The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets contributed a
substantial amount (around 15 percent) to the observed increase in
sea level over the 1993-2003 period. However, the models say that
the Antarctic ice sheet should in fact be growing, due to increased
precipitation, meaning that as yet the models cannot explain the
increase in the discharge of ice especially from Antarctica, and
don't fully account for the rapid melting and discharge of ice from
Greenland. So, while it's known that sea-level rise will probably
be greater, it is still difficult to quantify precisely by how
- A warming of 1.9 to 4.6°C above pre-industrial levels, (well
within the range expected for the 21st century) would lead to the
virtual elimination of the Greenland Ice sheet, if that warming is
sustained for thousand years or more. That would raise sea level by
between 6 and 7 metres. The report also found that future
temperatures projected over Greenland are comparable to those from
a warm period 125, 000 years ago, when sea levels were 4-6 metres
higher than they are today.
"We need to keep global mean temperature increase to below 2°C
compared with pre-industrial levels to avoid catastrophic climate
impacts. To do this, global emissions must peak before 2020 and
then come down rapidly," added Tunmore.
Last week Greenpeace unveiled a new report, the Energy
[R]evolution scenario, a detailed blueprint for how the world can
provide the energy it is projected to need until 2050 whilst
achieving a 50 per cent cut in global CO2 emissions and at the same
time allowing for increased population and economic growth
Other contacts: Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International, +44 77969 474 51 Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 7801 212 960
VVPR info: Climate impact videos available from +31 6 29 00 11 35
Notes: 1. This range is similar to that found in the IPCC Third Assessment for the same scenarios of 1.4°C to 5.6°C by 2100 above 1990 levels. However, it cannot be compared directly with the new range as the methods used are different and the time period is slightly different. The new range covers temperature rise for the decade from 2090-2099 over the average levels in the period from 1980-1999), whereas the TAR compared temperature rise in 2100 compared with 1990 levels.
Exp. contact date: 2007-02-04 00:00:00