Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Climate Report from UN

The UN has been working hard to release a series of investigative reports about climate

change over the past seven months. The three reports present data that indicates we must

act soon to save our planet that is warming up dangerously quickly. However, it is yet to

be seen whether these reports will make any difference because individual countries will

need to act to slow down the process. If no one takes action, the reports will have been in


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the most recent climate

change assessment on Sunday. Their report revealed that if we take action now to sharply

cut the world’s greenhouse gas emission, by starting with a 40 percent reduction and

then increasing to a 70 percent reduction by mid-century we could avoid the very worst

of the climate change effects. However, if we don’t take action we could experience

horrible consequences. The head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

(UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres said, “We cannot play a waiting game where we bet

on future technological miracles to emerge and save the day.” Her department, the

UNFCCC, has been holding international summits about taking global action against

climate change since the 1990s. The next summit is scheduled to occur in Paris in 2015

and the UN is hoping that these reports will affect countries to the point that they will

be willing to discuss taking real action at the summit next year. Figueres stresses that,

“Above all, governments must strengthen and expand bold policy incentives to reduce

emissions at home and together construct a new climate change agreement in Paris next


The worst outcome of the Paris meeting would be inaction. The UN reports, written by

thousands of science, policy, and economic experts, includes existing climate research

and touts the “virtually certain” dire global impacts and the catastrophic effects for the

planet. Kelly Levin is an emissions tracking expert for the World Resources Institute

and says, “These are the most authoritative statements on climate science available…the

IPCC does not recommend policies; they lay them out for officials. But the reports play a

central role in policymaking.” We can but hope that the Paris meeting will be productive

and that world leaders will take the warnings of these reports seriously.

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