The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assembles in Brussels this week. On Friday they will deliver their latest assessment on the potential impacts of climate change. While the picture they paint will likely be a dire one, there are concrete steps we can take now to avoid the more nightmarish scenarios.
In February, the Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its strongest warnings yet. We now know with a scientific certainty of greater than 90 percent that most of the observed warming over the past half-century is caused by human activities. The IPCC report also stated that if we take no action to reduce emissions, there will be twice as much warming over the next two decades than if we had stabilized heat-trapping gases at 2000 levels.
"With each IPCC report the scale of the risks has grown. The last assessment in 2001 showed that hundreds of millions of people are likely to be at grave risk in the future from climate change," said Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner. "This week, we may see different numbers and sometimes different issues but the basics won't change. The hotter it gets, the greater the risk".
The number of people affected by extreme weather and other natural disasters globally has nearly tripled in the last two decades, almost all in the developing world.
The obvious and well-recognized first step to dealing with climate change is reducing global warming pollution. The world needs alternative energy, like wind power, and smarter energy technology, greater efficiency.
Blueprint for energy choices
Greenpeace has put forward a detailed blueprint for what we call the Energy [R]evolution. We've shown on paper how the world can achieve sustainable economic growth, while at the same time cutting global CO2 emissions in half by 2050. We need to act quickly for this dream to go from paper to reality.
To spur governments along, we've built a giant Ark in the center of Brussels. The Ark, constructed from FSC timber and standing at over 40 feet long, houses an exhibition featuring documentation of climate change impacts from across the world, the causes of climate change and the solutions, and action that we can all take.
Our team at the meeting will be giving regular updates - so watch this space.