Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


17 Years Lost Since Kyoto

Feb 5 2007 (TODAY)

In light of the IPCC report, we must all act fast on the issue of climate

David King
- The Guardian

Open any newspaper and chances are you'll find an item on climate change.
Last Friday saw yet another flurry of coverage with the publication of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fourth assessment report
on the science of climate change. What makes this report stand out from

Friday's report is not new research but, rather, a stock-take of the
entire body of knowledge that exists on climate change. It builds on three
previous reports and incorporates results from a further six years of

The report is the first of three to be published by the IPCC this year.

Later reports will focus on the impacts of climate change and on the
actions required to address the problem. This process has involved more
than 2,500 scientists and 130 countries.

Where the lengthy, rigorous process of the IPCC comes into its own is in
bringing together the different pieces of evidence from many strands of
science and balances them to give as clear a view as possible on the
overall state of knowledge.

It is a process underpinned by extensive expert challenge and review. The
resulting report is a major achievement and a real advance in our
understanding of climate change.

The IPCC report's findings reinforce some stark messages. The evidence for
warming is now unequivocal.

There has been a 0.74°C rise in global temperatures over the past century,
much of this occurring in the last few decades.

The direct link between human activities and global warming is more
clearly established than ever.

This link can now be drawn not only with global atmospheric temperature
but also with the warming in the oceans, with sea level rise and in the
pattern of atmospheric warming.

The report confirms that global warming resulting from human activity is
around 10 times greater than that from changes in the sun's activity. We
have caused most of the recent observed warming.

For sea levels, the previous IPCC report projected a rise by the end of
this century of between 9cm and 88cm.

This uncertainty has now been reduced to between 18cm and 59cm, though
factors not well understood may yet mean that this range could be revised

The IPCC concludes that global temperature will rise a further 1.1°C to
6.4°C by the end of the century, influenced by how emissions grow.

Well below the higher end of this range, the impact would be devastating.

The case for action is established beyond any reasonable doubt for all but
the most ardent or ill-informed sceptics. The report's value is in
providing governments with a coherent and comprehensive assessment of the
challenge we face.

The message for policy-makers is clear: Climate change is not a passing
fancy for environmentalists. It represents a challenge on a scale that
will affect societies and economies across the world.

Apart from governments, individuals, too, can play their part.

As consumers, we can transform markets through our purchasing choices and
we can also encourage governments - nationally and locally - to show

The future severity of climate change and its impact lies in our hands. We
have the knowledge, technologies and capability to transform our economies
if we have the commitment to do so.

The IPCC's work is vital in providing a solid foundation of evidence on
which these crucial decisions can be made. We have lost 17 years since
Kyoto. Now we have to act.