IPCC Summary Underscores Urgency Of Emissions Reductions

Published Nov 2, 2014

COPENHAGEN (November 2, 2014) - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeís (IPCC) final summary report, released today in Copenhagen, Denmark, underscores the fact that policymakers must do more if they want to meet their pledge to limit warming to no more than two degrees Celsius, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

"The scientists have done their job and then some," Meyer said. "The risks are clear. Politicians can either dramatically reduce emissions or they can spend the rest of their careers running from climate disaster to climate disaster. Thankfully, more and more leaders are waking up to the costs of dealing with runaway climate change that scientists have been warning about for years.  Now they must move quickly to take action at home, and work together to reach an ambitious and equitable climate agreement in Paris."

Peter Frumhoff, UCS's director of science and policy and a former IPCC lead author, said that continued high emissions of heat-trapping gases over the past decade gives unprecedented urgency to the task of staying below two degrees of warming.  Frumhoff coauthored a recent paper arguing that policymakers should simultaneously increase their ambition for emissions reductions while adopting prudent adaptation policies in case the world warms more than two degrees Celsius.

"The IPCC finds that there are many actions countries can take to dramatically scale-up low carbon energy," Frumhoff said, "but far too few politicians have taken them. Having allowed emissions to climb so high, they also need to prepare for the risks of serious impacts."