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Advocating climate policy

Dec 02, 2009

UNEP’s publication Climate in Peril: a popular guide to the latest IPCC reports provides an overview of the impacts of climate change to increase public awareness about the urgency of action. The document explores the potential of regional and global cooperation.

Climate in Peril: a popular guide to the latest IPCC reports

Publisher: United Nations Environment Programme, 2009

The document draws attention to the global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities which have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of 70% between 1970 and 2004.

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It warns that continued GHG emissions at or above current rates will cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during this century that would be larger than those observed during the 20th century and in all probability could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the change.

Over the next half-century, climate change could hamper the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.

Climate change will interact at all scales with other trends in global environmental and natural resource problems, including water, soil and air pollution, health hazards, disaster risk, and deforestation. Their combined impacts may be compounded in future unless there are integrated mitigation and adaptation measures.

Adaptation to climate change (reducing the potential impacts by changing the circumstances so that they strike less hard) or mitigation (reducing the potential impacts by slowing down the process itself) though will not avoid all climate change impacts; however, they can complement each other and together significantly and reduce the risks of climate change.

Emphasis is laid on the role of policy and lifestyle and how they contribute widely to climate change mitigation. Management practices can also have a positive role.

An elucidation of the additional vulnerabilities that might arise as an indirect result of climatic change lies in this research.

It explores the potential of regional and global cooperation and how these agreements tend to be environmentally effective and cost-effective, to reflect the need for equity, and are institutionally feasible.

The impacts of any climate change would last for centuries in spite of any adaptation or mitigation its impacts remembered in both climate and socio-economic systems.

A section is dedicated to the essential climate change issues in brief, and compares recent findings with the state of knowledge of the Third Assessment Report which in 2001 identified five “reasons for concern” over the long term. These “reasons” are judged to be stronger in the fourth report than previously.

Many risks are identified with higher confidence. Some risks are projected to be larger or to occur at lower increases in temperature.

Understanding about the relationship between impacts (the basis for “reasons for concern”) and vulnerability (which includes the (in-) ability to adapt to impacts) has improved.

This is because of more precise identification of the circumstances that make systems, sectors and regions especially vulnerable and growing evidence of the risks of very large impacts on multiple-century time scales.

Source : UNEP
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