Irreversible Climate Change Would Result from Continued Inaction

Irreversible Climate Change Would Result from Continued Inaction: Continuing to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will trigger “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people, species and 27 ecosystems,” concludes a landmark draft U.N. science report expected to be approved this week.

Adapting to climate change, according to a final draft obtained by ClimateWire, can reduce some risks. But, it argues, “there are limits to its effectiveness, particularly if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.”

In order to keep global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrial levels—the point at which experts predict the planet will experience the irreversible effect of climate change—net global emissions must plummet 40 to 70 percent by 2050, hitting zero by the end of the century. And yet, the report will argue, there is still time to act.

“Risks from mitigation can be substantial, but they do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation action,” the draft notes.

The sythesis report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pulls together three sweeping scientific works that the United Nations’ top climate science body has released over the past 13 months. They include documents detailing the latest climate science, the impacts to ecosystems and people, and options for reducing emissions. Scientists and delegates from more than 100 countries are meeting behind closed doors in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week to complete it as well as an even shorter “summary for policymakers” that will be released Sunday.

It comes as governments prepare to meet in Lima, Peru, for annual U.N. negotiations toward an international climate agreement. The deal is expected to be signed in Paris at the end of 2015, and several officials noted that the bite-sized summary could help put global warming on the radar screen of world leaders over the coming months.

“Policymakers like short, up-to-date documents that present a clear, balanced view of the key issues around the problem on their table,” said IPCC Vice-Chairman Jean-Pascal van Ypersele. “It will also, most probably, contain a catchy series of headline statements, which will provide easy to remember elements of context for the impending climate negotiations.”

The headline statements will make the report more digestible “in the same way that a cake is much more palatable than the dry ingredients it is made from,” he said. “Climate negotiations need to be informed by the best assessment of scientific information. That is what the IPCC Synthesis Report will provide.”

Challenges from the developing world

Yet the summary is more than just a wrap-up of the science; it is a road map for negotiations, which means that each statement could hold nations politically accountable in the future—so nations consider wording with great care.

Several points of disagreement exist between developing and developed nations, said Sanjay Vashist, director of the Climate Action Network.

– post completo en: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/irreversible-climate-change-would-result-from-continued-inaction/

– por Lisa Friedman. Scientific American

– Tags: cambio climático, climatología, efecto invernadero –

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