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New IPCC report shocking: Running out of time for action


Brussels, Belgium — Greenpeace today welcomed the latest climate change report “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but warned that time was nearly out to prevent the dramatic, harmful and dangerous impacts projected for coming decades.

The report was agreed after almost a week of negotiations, at the end of a tense 24 hour marathon session which became increasingly political, angering some scientists (1). The second of a series of four to be released throughout 2007, this report documents the widespread effects that rising temperatures are already having on ecosystems and human activities and assesses the changes projected from human induced climate change over the next century.

“This is a glimpse into an apocalyptic future. The earth will be transformed by human induced climate change, unless action is taken soon and fast,” said Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International Climate & Energy Campaigner. “What this report shows is that we are simply running out of time.”

Climate change is already affecting millions of people, ecosystems and species in all regions of the world. However, unless immediate action is taken now to reduce emissions it is likely that climate change will cause greater and even more harmful impacts such as mass extinction of species; billions of people facing water scarcity; increased drought; sea level rises; storm surges; river flooding and more hunger and misery through reductions in food production capacity in the poorest parts of the world (2).

“Everyone who cares about the fate of the earth should now stand up and demand action by Governments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and prevent the worst of this nightmare vision from becoming a reality. If we fail to act quickly, decisively and with great vigour there will soon be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide,” said Tunmore.

In its February 2007 report “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis” (2), the IPCC expressed a greater than 90% certainty that most of the observed warming over the past half-century is caused by human activities. The latest report adds more detail, documenting the effect that rising temperatures have already had on people and ecosystems and what the future holds under different scenarios.

“We still have options,” said Tunmore. “There is still time for an energy revolution that will dramatically transform our energy system and create a carbon free economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level that keeps the global average temperature increase well below 2 degrees C, avoiding the most catastrophic impacts.”

“The one option that is clearly no longer open to us after this report is to continue to sit on our hands and do nothing.”


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