Final part of climate report jigsaw increases pressure on Governments to act

Feature story - May 4, 2007
Greenpeace today demanded a serious political response from World leaders following the completion of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

An Indonesian member of the Solar Generation, the youth wing of Greenpeace, greets delegates to the IPCC meeting in Bangkok with a sign "energy revolution now".

The report "Mitigation of Climate Change" found that there are severe climate risks entailed in delaying emission reductions and that the scale of the action to reduce emissions in the next two to three decades will determine the climate change impacts that can be avoided.

"With the final piece of the jigsaw in place the picture of our options for the future is now in sharp focus," said Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International Climate & Energy Campaigner. "It is quite clear that immediate action to cut greenhouse gas emissions is required. The longer the delay, the higher the temperature increase and the greater the impacts; further procrastination could have a devastating effect on the lives of billions of people across the world".

"We need to keep global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Centigrade, which means global emissions have to peak by 2015 and come down rapidly to 50% below 1990 levels by mid-century. Worryingly this report also warns the models have underestimated the level of emission reductions needed to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations.

The report sets out a range of mitigation options including many that reduce energy costs.

Stabilising greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid escalating temperatures could cost significantly less than the cost of inaction.  According to the report stabilization between 450 and 550 ppm would cost from 0.2% to less than 3% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2030, or less than 0.1 % per year. Figures for the cost of business-as-usual with no action are not given but according to the UK Government's Stern report from October 2006 it could be 5-10% of global GDP and under the worst case scenario it could rise to as much as 20%.

The projected costs of climate protection measures are far outweighed by the costs of escalating climate impacts under business-as-usual. The Greenpeace global energy scenario - the Energy [R]evolution shows that it is possible to achieve the necessary reduction targets using renewable energy sources and energy efficiency whilst still allowing for steady worldwide economic growth. The scenario, based only on proven and sustainable technologies, excludes nuclear power and the use of carbon capture and storage.

When world leaders meet at the G8+5 in June and the next round of climate negotiations in December the world will be watching and expect the progress of the negotiations to reflect the urgent need for climate protection.

The United Nations climate change conference in Indonesia this December is crucial to the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol. Governments need to ensure that by 2009 there is a new set of legally binding  commitments.

"This remarkable report gives clear direction to the governments of the world as well as the public to take collective action to avert a climate disaster. The set of solutions prescribed in the report especially changes in consumption patterns, resource conservation, the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency is what Greenpeace has been advocating," said Tara Buakamsri, Climate and Energy campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

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