Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report

Climate Change Fifth Assessment ReportThe IPCC has published the first of three volumes of its Fifth Assessment Report (5AR).  Edward Davey, the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:

“The message of this report is clear - the Earth’s climate has warmed over the last century and man-made greenhouse gases have caused much of that global warming. The gases emitted now are accumulating in the atmosphere and so the solutions must be set in motion today. The risks and costs of doing nothing today are so great, only a deeply irresponsible government would be so negligent.

“Without urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions this warming will continue, with potentially dangerous impacts upon our societies and economy. This strengthens the case for international leaders to work for an ambitious, legally binding global agreement in 2015 to cut carbon emissions.

“This report is the most authoritative, credible analysis of climate change science ever. It represents a huge amount of work by over 250 unpaid scientific experts drawn from universities and research institutes in 39 different countries around the world. We owe them our gratitude because this report makes clear what is at stake if we don’t act.”

The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, also conveyed the urgency of addressing the report’s latest findings.

He said, “The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment of the science confirms that climate change is already happening, as a result of human activity.  The odds of extreme weather events, which threaten lives and property, have increased.  Sea levels are rising, and ice is melting faster than we expected.  The IPCC’s report makes clear that unless we act now to reduce carbon emissions, all this will continue to worsen in coming decades.  Governments, businesses and individuals all have a responsibility to tackle climate change.  The longer we delay, the higher the risks and the greater the costs to present and future generations.”

The Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, Neil Morisetti, also recognised the importance of this comprehensive body of evidence, and agreed that the report “...plays a fundamental role in reinforcing the need to respond to a changing climate and will be used by governments around the world to inform their response to one of the greatest threats we face.

The wide range of evidence reinforces what we have known for some time: the world continues to get warmer as the climate changes.  Extreme weather events are already happening more frequently.  Unless we take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low carbon, resource effective world, we are likely to see at least a two degree, and potentially as much as five degree, rise in global temperatures by the end of this century.  This represents a fundamental risk to global stability and prosperity.  The need for global action now is clear.”

The report concludes that the scientific evidence is clear – human activity has caused the warming of the climate system over the last century. This is unequivocal, and associated climate changes have been widely observed.

The IPCC report comes more than a week after the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released the more-than-1,000-page Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science (PDF).  

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