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Listen to the climate science, Greenpeace warns


International — As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change opens in Valencia for the final session of its 4th Assessment Report, Greenpeace hangs a series of banners warning Governments to take heed of the climate science.

Valencia, Spain – November 2007 – Fifteen Greenpeace volunteers today hung three banners totalling 400m sq m with the message “Warning: save the climate now” - at the opening of the final session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is due to complete its Fourth Assessment Report this week, in Valencia, Spain.

This week, the IPCC will finalise the most important of its documents this year - the ‘Synthesis Report’ that brings together the current scientific understanding on climate change and will guide climate change policymaking over the next few years.

“This report will become the key reference document on climate change for policymakers,” said Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace International.

“The Synthesis Report outlines the problem, the cause and the solutions and provides an overwhelming case for urgent action on climate change by governments, businesses and individuals.”

“In three weeks time, negotiators from governments around the world will meet in Bali to decide the next steps they need to take to protect the climate. The urgency of the science must be front and foremost in their minds and must drive their decision making. The report being finalised this week is central to that.”

The Bali talks were postponed specifically so that this IPCC report could be finished. In the meantime, the organisation has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which it will receive at a ceremony in Oslo on 10 December (the 10th anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol).

This year, the IPCC has concluded that:

* Most of the observed warming over the past half-century is caused by human activities (greater than 90 per cent certainty).

* The full range of projected temperature increase is 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius and the best estimate range is 1.8 to 4.0 degrees Celsius.

* Over the next decades the number of people at risk of water scarcity is likely to rise from tens of millions to billions. Projected reductions in food production capacity in the poorest parts of the world would bring more hunger and misery and undermine achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

* The loss of glaciers in Asia, Latin America and Europe are set to cause major water supply problems for a large fraction of the world’s population. Sea level rise, storm surges and river flooding threaten huge numbers of people in the Asian Megadeltas such as the Ganges-Brahmaputra (Bangladesh) and the Zhujiang (Pearl River).

* Limiting global mean temperature increases to 2 to 2.4 degrees C above pre-industrial levels will require carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to peak before 2015 and to be 50 to 85 per cent lower than 2000 levels by 2050.

* Delaying action on reducing emissions often leads to governments making decisions in favour of investing in dirty energy; high emission options which are then difficult and costly to change.

* Renewable energy generally has a positive effect on energy security, employment and on air quality. Renewable energy could achieve a 30-35 per cent share of total electricity supply in 2030.

“The science is clear - we have only a short timeframe to stop dangerous levels of climate change and – the world must act now,” said Tunmore.

Greenpeace believes it is possible to keep the worst impacts of climate change - such as extreme weather events, water crises and increased hunger - from putting millions of people at risk.

But industrialized countries must make the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that the scientific evidence demands.

To avert the worst impacts of climate change we need to keep global average temperatures as far below two degrees as possible. Rich nations must commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2020 and at least 80 per cent by 2050.

This can be achieved if industrialised countries kick-start an ‘energy revolution’ and help developing countries to do the same, as well as providing them with the necessary incentives to commit to stopping deforestation.

In Bali, governments must agree to the necessary steps to reach these objectives – with a 2009 deadline for this action plan.

“Spanish President José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said that he wants Spain to be a world leader in the international fight against climate change. As hosts of this week’s IPCC meeting, the Spanish Government could show this leadership by committing to deep emissions cuts and developing a 100% renewable electricity system for Spain. Greenpeace has shown this to be possible,” said Raquel Montón of Greenpeace Spain.


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