U.N. Climate Panel Warns of 'Abrupt' Warming


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will issue a report this weekend that warns of "abrupt and irreversible" impacts unless world leaders address climate change this year.

In its strongest statement to date, the panel warns of a potential temperature rise up to 6.4C, sea level rise up to 43cm, Arctic summer ice to disappear within the second half of this century, and an increase to the increase we're already seeing in heat waves and tropical storm intensity.

The report condenses information from the three major reports produced by the IPCC:

Working Group I:
Physical Science Basis
Working Group II:
Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
Working Group II:
Mitigation of Climate Change

The Synthesis Report will be introduced by U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in a statement to the 450 delegates of the 27th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Session is being held this week in Valencia, Spain, a region which is currently experiencing a loss of available water due to its diminishing reservoir (see: 43 percent of the United States).

The Synthesis Report will cover the following topics:
  • Observed changes in climate and its effects
  • Causes of change
  • Climate change and its impacts in the near and long term under different scenarios
  • Adaptation and mitigation options and responses, and the inter-relationship with sustainable development, at global and regional levels
  • The long term perspective: scientific and socio-economic aspects relevant to adaptation and mitigation, consistent with the objectives and provisions of the Convention, and in the context of sustainable development
  • Robust findings, key uncertainties
"Climate change is here, it's impacting our lives and our economies, and we need to do something about it," commented Hans Verolme, director of the climate change programme with the environmental group WWF. "After this report, there are no politicians left who can argue they don't know what climate change is or they don't know what to do about it."

Given the unexpected growth in C02 emissions due to the loss of carbon sinks, the aforementioned drought conditions in 43 percent of the U.S., the category-four cyclone that just hit low-lying Bangladesh, it is should not be surprising that the UN report warns of millions that could be affected by rising temperatures and up to a third of all species that could be lost.

Not surprising, perhaps. Alarming, heartbreaking, frightening and frustrating, definitely, and, according to the IPCC and the United Nations, an impact that may happen abruptly and irreversibly if world leaders don't act to counteract climate change at the U.N. IPCC meeting scheduled for Bali this December.