Climate: UN crucial report


Summary

The world must act quickly to cut back on the greenhouse gases that fuel climate change, the UN's leading authority said in a report.

Scientists and experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) added that there was "substantial" potential for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below current levels.

"Mitigation efforts over the next two to three decades will have a large impact on opportunities to achieve lower stabilisation levels" of greenhouse gases, the report said.

"There is substantial economic potential for the mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades," it said.

Greenhouse gases fuel global warming by trapping heat from the sun.

The report was agreed after five days of intense debate and marathon talks at a major UN conference in Bangkok.

The report, which lays out technological and policy options for fighting climate change, was agreed after talks ran into overtime late yesterday and continued today.

Final approval had been held up by few key sticking points and the complexity of the document, according to participants.

One sticking point was a push by China to highlight that the rich world was responsible for the vast bulk of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, one European delegate said.

Another matter of contention was how much importance to give nuclear energy in the mix of new technologies that the world should depend on as it moves away from fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases, he said.

The report is the third and last from the IPCC this year, after the first two looked into the evidence and looming devastating impacts of global warming.

Ways to reduce greenhouse gases

The report emphasises that the tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions already exist and many can be quickly implemented.

The text of the report calls for greater use of renewable energies such as solar, wind, and hydro-power, as well as ways to use energy more efficiently.

Nascent technology to store carbon dioxide, the biggest greenhouse gas, underground is also mentioned, as are tariffs and other economic mechanisms to make using fossil fuels more expensive and renewable energies much cheaper.

The report came under fierce debate since the meeting opened Monday.

The cost of reducing greenhouse gases that cause global warming was one of the biggest disputes, with China the leading voice in expressing concern about the economic impact of cutting back, delegates said.

The report said that a priority in tackling climate change is how to cut the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Green groups praise UN climate report

Environmental groups hailed the report as historic and said governments must act immediately if they are to prevent a global warming disaster.

"WWF believe it is a historic moment here," said in Bangkok Stephan Singer, the conservation organisation's European head of climate and energy.

"It has been shown for the first time that stopping climate pollution in a very ambitious way does not cost a fortune … There is no excuse for any government to argue that it is going to cause their economy to collapse."

Greenpeace said it, too, was happy with the report, and demanded a "serious political response" from world leaders.

"With this report we now have very, very clear options on how to deal with climate change," said Stephanie Tunmore, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner.

"It's up to the policymakers to now make a decision on what is a dangerous level of climate change and make sure we avoid it."

Mr Singer said the Chinese delegation had been particularly vocal in voicing its concerns about the report, but added that in the end everyone accepted its findings.

"It came out much better than we thought … This is a victory of science over the fossil fuel industry (and) economic sceptics," Mr Singer told AFP soon after the document was approved.

"Start tomorrow, don't wait for another summit," he urged governments.


The world must act quickly to cut back on the greenhouse gases that fuel climate change, the UN's leading authority said in a report.

Scientists and experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) added that there was "substantial" potential for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below current levels.

"Mitigation efforts over the next two to three decades will have a large impact on opportunities to achieve lower stabilisation levels" of greenhouse gases, the report said.

"There is substantial economic potential for the mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades," it said.

Greenhouse gases fuel global warming by trapping heat from the sun.

The report was agreed after five days of intense debate and marathon talks at a major UN conference in Bangkok.

The report, which lays out technological and policy options for fighting climate change, was agreed after talks ran into overtime late yesterday and continued today.

Final approval had been held up by few key sticking points and the complexity of the document, according to participants.

One sticking point was a push by China to highlight that the rich world was responsible for the vast bulk of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, one European delegate said.

Another matter of contention was how much importance to give nuclear energy in the mix of new technologies that the world should depend on as it moves away from fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases, he said.

The report is the third and last from the IPCC this year, after the first two looked into the evidence and looming devastating impacts of global warming.

Ways to reduce greenhouse gases

The report emphasises that the tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions already exist and many can be quickly implemented.

The text of the report calls for greater use of renewable energies such as solar, wind, and hydro-power, as well as ways to use energy more efficiently.

Nascent technology to store carbon dioxide, the biggest greenhouse gas, underground is also mentioned, as are tariffs and other economic mechanisms to make using fossil fuels more expensive and renewable energies much cheaper.

The report came under fierce debate since the meeting opened Monday.

The cost of reducing greenhouse gases that cause global warming was one of the biggest disputes, with China the leading voice in expressing concern about the economic impact of cutting back, delegates said.

The report said that a priority in tackling climate change is how to cut the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Green groups praise UN climate report

Environmental groups hailed the report as historic and said governments must act immediately if they are to prevent a global warming disaster.

"WWF believe it is a historic moment here," said in Bangkok Stephan Singer, the conservation organisation's European head of climate and energy.

"It has been shown for the first time that stopping climate pollution in a very ambitious way does not cost a fortune … There is no excuse for any government to argue that it is going to cause their economy to collapse."

Greenpeace said it, too, was happy with the report, and demanded a "serious political response" from world leaders.

"With this report we now have very, very clear options on how to deal with climate change," said Stephanie Tunmore, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner.

"It's up to the policymakers to now make a decision on what is a dangerous level of climate change and make sure we avoid it."

Mr Singer said the Chinese delegation had been particularly vocal in voicing its concerns about the report, but added that in the end everyone accepted its findings.

"It came out much better than we thought … This is a victory of science over the fossil fuel industry (and) economic sceptics," Mr Singer told AFP soon after the document was approved.

"Start tomorrow, don't wait for another summit," he urged governments.