Europe needs to step up climate action: Environmental group

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Brussels, Oct 8 (IANS) A day ahead of the European Union Environment Ministers’ meeting expected to adopt the EU’s position for the UN Climate Summit (COP24) in December, the world’s leading body of climate scientists gave strong scientific evidence for the need to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The new IPCC report, ordered and endorsed by all world governments, showed that many of the dire consequences of future warming can be avoided by respecting this limit.

It also confirmed that it is still possible, but requires a rapid and far-reaching shift across all sectors of the economy.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report released on Monday offers the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the impact of global warming 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and the action needed to stay below this threshold.

It proves beyond doubt that staying below an increase of 1.5 degrees will significantly reduce the damage from climate change for the poorest and most vulnerable countries, but also for all Europeans.

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“Science has given us a message of both urgency and hope. It has made it crystal clear that warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius will result in ever wilder extreme weather events. These in turn would expose us to greater drought, food shortages and economic devastation,” Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe Director Wendel Trio said.

“The silver lining in the report is that we still have a chance to stay below 1.5 degrees, that solutions are within our reach and that it will help us build a safer, more prosperous Europe.”

CAN is a worldwide network of over 1,300 non-governmental organizations in more than 120 countries.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, former IPCC Vice-Chair, professor of climate sciences at UCLouvain in Belgium said: “Climate change is threatening all forms of life on this planet. This report says the crash is avoidable, and that reducing CO2 emissions to zero is an urgent necessity.”

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“And it’s doable. We owe that to our kids, and to all young people who would have to live on a too hot planet otherwise.”

The new IPCC report clearly states that “if we are to stay below 1.5-degree Celsius mark, we need an unprecedented shift, including accelerating the transition towards a 100 per cent renewable energy system and the replacement of all dirty energy”.

The report also proves that through this transformation the world can create a safer and more prosperous future.

Trio added: “The IPCC scientists are sending this message ahead of the all-important COP24 summit in Katowice this year, where governments are expected to commit to step up their climate targets.”

“All eyes are on the EU Environment Ministers now, who need to act on the IPCC warnings and commit to significantly increase the EU’s 2030 target well beyond 45 per cent, to be in line with the IPCC’s recommendations on 1.5 degrees Celsius pathways.”

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United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Cristiana PaAYca-Palmer said a global warming of two degrees Celsius would place many species and ecosystems with limited adaptive capacity under very high risk.

“Even at a global average temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius, the risks for unique and threatened systems are high. Keeping global temperature increases closer to 1.5 degrees rather than two degrees, is likely to significantly reduce the negative impacts on biodiversity, especially in the most vulnerable ecosystems.”

–IANS

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