Climate change threatens planet
Associated Press , THE
Nov. 17, 2007
UN panel of scientists and national delegations has agreed on an "instant
guide" for policy makers, declaring unequivocally that climate change has
begun and threatens to irreversibly alter the planet.
document, to be published Saturday, summarizes the scientific consensus on
human-induced climate change. It will be the first point of reference for
delegates at a crucial meeting in
from more than 140 countries wrangled for five days until dawn Friday before
approving a 20-page summary of data and computer projections. Then they labored
throughout the day to finalize a longer 70-page version. Both papers synthesize
research compiled over the last six years by the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will address the IPCC when it releases the report
done. They have come up with a really strong report," said Hans Verholme,
of the World Wide Fund for Nature.
papers describe how climate systems are changing and why, the impacts it is
having on mankind and ecosystems, and various scenarios of future impacts,
depending on how quickly action is taken to slow the trend.
WWF climate scientist, Stephan Singer, called it a "groundbreaking document
that will pave the way for deep emissions cuts by developing countries."
report does not commit participating governments to any course of action but it
is important because it is adopted by consensus, meaning those countries accept
the underlying science and cannot disavow its conclusions. It provides a common
scientific base line for the political talks.
of the climate system is unequivocal," the summary begins, in a statement
meant to dispel any skepticism about the reality of climate change, said
participants in the meeting.
a startling and much-debated conclusion, the document warns that human activity
risks causing "abrupt or irreversible changes" on Earth, including the
widespread extinction of species and a dramatic rise in sea levels before the
end of this century, they said on condition of anonymity because the details are
supposed to remain confidential until Saturday.
think overall it is a good and balanced document," said Bert Metz, an
eminent Dutch scientist and one of the 40 authors of the draft. "In the
end, a lot of people had to compromise," he said.
it contains no previously unpublished material, the summary pulls together the
central elements of three lengthy reports the IPCC released earlier this year.
Boiling down the 3,000 pages into about 20 was "quite a challenge,"
think this will be the scientific imperative" propelling action, said
Stephanie Tunmore of the Greenpeace environmental group, an observer at the
agreement was seen as a personal triumph for the IPCC chairman, Rajendra
said the talks this week were difficult, and sometimes bogged down for hours
over a brief phrase.
outcome was "much better than I expected," said Jean-Pascal van
Ypersele, the chief scientist of the Belgian delegation. The report was not just
"a cut-and-paste" job from earlier papers, but it highlighted more
clearly than before the risks faced by the Earth's most vulnerable systems, he
meeting in the Indonesian resort of
say the new "road map" emerging from Bali should draw in the