IPCC - Fourth Assessment Synthesis report

Stark warning to governments

Press release - 17 November, 2007
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a stark warning that Governments need to take strong action for the climate when they meet in Bali to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol’s second phase in two weeks’ time, Greenpeace said today.

Last night in Valencia, the IPCC approved its Fourth Assessment Synthesis report, which sums up the key points from the three major reports published this year on climate change science, its impacts and the mitigation options. It will be the key reference document for policymakers in the coming years.

"It is clear from this report that we are gambling with the future of the planet - and the stakes are high," said Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace International. "This document sets out a compelling case for early action on climate change. And it must take centre stage at the Kyoto talks in Bali in December."

She said Governments should be constantly referring back to this report in their negotiations in Bali. "We expect to see their personal copies of the Synthesis Report return from Bali, battered and worn from frequent use, with paragraphs underlined and notes in the margin."

The IPCC reports of "unequivocal"climate change already occurring and warns that man-made global warming could lead to abrupt or irreversible impacts.

However, it also confirms that all greenhouse gas stabilisation levels can be achieved with currently available technologies or those expected to be commercialised in the coming decades.

"We have a choice - irreversible impacts - or an Energy Revolution. Greenpeace believes it is possible to keep the worst impacts of climate change - the extreme weather events, water crises and increased hunger - from putting millions of people at risk. This will take a revolution in the way we use and produce energy, and a strong commitment to stop deforestation worldwide."

Late in the evening, the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise launched inflatable boats to protest another coal ship off the Valencia coast as a reminder to Governments of the cause of the problem. This was on the back of a similar protest earlier in the week.

Amongst the severe risks the report labels as 'reasons for concern' are:

  • New evidence that the poor and elderly are two groups most at risk in both rich and poor countries from the impacts of climate change: more hunger, more disease, greater risks from extreme weather events.
  • Major extinctions of plants and animals around the world.
  • Widespread mass die off of coral reefs, threatening the livelihoods of millions.
  • Harder droughts, more intense heatwaves and greatly increase floodrisks are  projected for areas of the world already hard hit, oftenin the poorest parts of the world.
  • Increasing risk of more rapid sea level rise as the Greenland andAntarctic ice  sheets melt from warming, with major risks to smallislands and to the huge, heavily populated mega deltas of Asia.
  •  Increasing risk of species extinction.
  • More certainty in the projected increases in droughts, heatwavesand floods.
  • There is more evidence of greater vulnerability of the poor andelderly in both the developed and developing world and of Arcticand small island communities.

Contacts in Valencia :

Stephanie Tunmore +44 7796 947 451

Cindy Baxter +31 646 162 022

Pictures of the Arctic Sunrise protest will be available in Valencia outside the  press conference.