The report, the fourth in a series this year, was presented in Valencia, Spain after a week of intense negotiations. It pulls no punches in terms of the possibly catastrophic impacts of climate change, underlining in particular the impacts on poorer nations, who are wholly unprepared.
'While the worst effects of climate change may not hit for many years we must prepare now. Climate change will have profound effects on our natural resources and will also change the way we go about our daily lives. We will not only lose biodiversity but also large parts of our territory, for example low-lying coastal areas and river basins as sea levels rise and the number of river floods increase,' Professor McGlade said.
This report provides an integrated view of climate change, its causes, its effects, as well as adaptation and mitigation options, focusing on issues particularly relevant for policymakers. The report provides a more systematic understanding of the timing and magnitude of the impacts of climate change and clearly points out that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the main cause.
The IPCC report says that:
- observations of climate change, its impacts and causes, are alarming;
- without additional mitigation (by reducing greenhouse gas emissions) climate change will lead to significant risks;
- adaptation to climate change must start now to climate change is needed as well;
- reducing the risks of climate change is urgent, possible and affordable.
The latest IPCC report is seen as the main input for a key United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bali this December. The meeting will discuss a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, which was agreed by the UNFCCC in 1997 and came into force in 2005.
'This report further underlines the importance of agreeing on a next step, a post-Kyoto global emission reduction scheme. The Bali meeting should be a watershed — if we don't achieve a global agreement to cut future emissions there — it may be too late, Professor McGlade said.