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Press Release No. 989

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New IPCC report highlights effective actions for reducing greenhouse gases and the risks of global climate change

Berlin, 13 April 2014 – An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report launched here today confirms that it is still possible to avoid the worst effects of climate change – but only if the international community takes urgent and ambitious actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

“Last year, the IPCC stated that limiting the warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions to a 2°C rise will require that our future emissions of carbon dioxide be dramatically lower than the total amount of all our past emissions. Today’s report on Mitigation of Climate Change presents what we need to do to meet this profound challenge,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, which, together with the UN Environment Programme, sponsors the IPCC.

According to the IPCC’s Physical Science Basis, to have more than a two-in-three chance of limiting the global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions alone to below 2°C, cumulative CO2emissions must stay below about 1 000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC). As of 2011, more than half this amount, or 515 GtC, had already been emitted since the beginning of the industrial era. When the warming effects of other greenhouse gases are included, cumulative CO2would need to be even lower – some 790 GtC – to keep below a 2°C warming.

Because greenhouse gases can last for decades or longer in the atmosphere, past and current emissions will continue to affect the climate for many years to come. The World Meteorological Organization and its Members continuously monitor atmospheric concentrations of these heat-trapping greenhouse gases. These measurements confirm that atmospheric concentrations have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.

In addition to sponsoring the IPCC and coordinating international climate observations and research, WMO actively supports efforts to reduce emissions. The UN-wide Global Framework on Climate Services led by WMO assists governments to produce and use climate information and predictions for adapting to and mitigating climate change while transitioning to a green economy. Many climate-sensitive sectors, such as energy and agriculture, both contribute to, and are affected by, climate change. Climate services can empower decision-makers to make these sectors more climate resilient and to minimize their emissions.

“From climate researchers to TV and radio weather presenters, the meteorological community has a key role to play in informing policymakers and the general public about the causes and impacts of climate change. The services and predictions we provide also support efforts to adapt to new climate conditions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mr Jarraud.

WMO contributes to the annual meetings of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework to Convention on Climate Change. It is also supporting the UN system’s efforts to promote urgent and ambitious actions on climate change through the United Nations Climate Summit, which will be hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 23 September in New York.

Weather, Climate and Water

For more information, please contact Michael Williams at +41 22 730 8315 (fixed), +41 79 406 4730 or mwilliams@wmo.int. Additional information is available at www.wmo.int, www.ipcc.ch and www.gfcs-climate.org

 

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