Reactions to landmark UN climate science report

Flood waters overlap at a high water warning sign that was partially knocked down by Hurricane Florence on Oak Island, North Carolina, United States, September 15, 2018. REUTERS / Jonathan Drake / File Photo

Aug. 9 (Reuters) – Eight years after its last comprehensive update on climate science, the United Nations on Monday released a report that delivered even tougher warnings about how human-induced climate change is affecting the planet – and how damaging the impacts could be.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said human influence was “unequivocally” responsible for global warming, and that some forms of climate disruption had now been “locked in” since. centuries. Read more

Without rapid and large-scale emission reductions, according to the report, the average global temperature will exceed critical thresholds of 1.5 and 2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 21st century.

Here are some initial reactions to the IPCC report.


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres:

“Today’s report from IPCC Working Group 1 is a ‘code red’ for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is compelling: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people in immediate danger. Global warming affects all regions of the Earth, with many changes becoming irreversible …

“This report must spell the end of coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

“Today’s report is sobering read, and it is clear that the next decade will be crucial in securing the future of our planet. We know what needs to be done to limit global warming: make coal history and switch to clean energy sources. , protect nature and finance the climate for countries on the front line …

“I hope today’s IPCC report will be a wake-up call for the world to act now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the crucial COP26 summit.”

US President’s Special Climate Envoy John Kerry:

“As the IPCC makes clear, the impacts of the climate crisis, from extreme heat and forest fires to heavy rains and flooding, will only intensify unless we choose another path for ourselves. themselves and generations to come.

“What the world needs now is real action. All major economies must engage in aggressive climate action during this critical decade.”

Diann Black-Layne, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, Senior Climate Negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States:

“Large emitters need to consider the damage inflicted by the fossil fuel industry, knowing that every tonne of carbon and every dollar spent on fossil fuels will have a negative impact …

“The point is, if we keep warming to 1.5 ° C, we are still facing a sea level rise of half a meter. But if we stop the warming from reaching 2 ° C, we can avoid a long term sea level rise of three meters. This is our future, right here. “

Mohamed Nasheed, Ambassador of the Climate Vulnerable Forum from 48 countries and former President of the Maldives:

“Our people are dying in vulnerable developing countries due to the burning of fossil fuels for consumption and economic growth in rich countries. We pay with our lives for the carbon emitted by someone else. We will take steps soon to begin to redress this injustice, which we simply cannot accept. “


Paulo Artaxo, main author of the IPCC and environmental physicist at the University of Sao Paulo:

“It is a strong message that we are irreversibly changing the climate. So basically we are damaging the climate in such a way for the next generations that it will certainly make the socio-economic difficulties in the future much worse than in our time. generation …

“My personal opinion is that it will be impossible to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees.”

Friederike Otto, IPCC Senior Author and Associate Director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford:

“Already there are a lot of anthropogenic climate change impacts in all parts of the world … There are things we can prevent from getting worse by meeting the targets, but there are a lot of changes that are already happening. the. “

Helene Hewitt, IPCC Coordinating Senior Author and Head of the Ocean Modeling Group at the Hadley Center of the UK Met Office:

“Previous reports may have slightly underestimated the trend of Arctic sea ice (melting) in the past and now we are combining several sources of evidence that suggest that we may be seeing a virtually sea ice-free Arctic for the first time. ‘by 2050 under all scenarios. “

Kristina Dahl, senior climatologist at the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“While this report underscores the urgent need for climate action, previous IPCC reports and countless other studies, as well as our lived experience, have already given us more than enough evidence to know that we are in the middle of it. ‘a crisis presented to us in large part by the fossil fuel industry and their political allies.


Helen Mountford, Vice President of Climate and Economy, World Resources Institute:

“If this IPCC report doesn’t shock you, it should. The report paints a very grim picture of the ruthless and unimaginable world we have in store if our addiction to burning fossil fuels and destroying forests continues.”

Kaisa Kosonen, Senior Policy Advisor on Climate and Energy, Greenpeace:

“We are not going to let this report be sidelined by further inaction. Instead, we will take it with us to court. By strengthening the scientific evidence between human emissions and extreme weather conditions, the IPCC provided powerful new means for everyone, everywhere, to hold the fossil fuel industry and governments directly accountable for the climate emergency. “

Nafkote Dabi, Climate Policy Manager at Oxfam:

“In a world where parts are burning, parts are drowning and parts are starving, the IPCC is today issuing the most compelling wake-up call to date for the global industry to shift from oil, gas and from coal to renewable energies. Governments must use the law to force this urgent change. Citizens must use their own political power and their own behaviors to push big corporations and polluting governments in the right direction. There is no plan B. “

Teresa Anderson, Climate Policy Coordinator at ActionAid International:

“The IPCC tells us that limiting average global warming to 1.5 ° C will be difficult, but not impossible. This new report sends the message that radical and transformative action is urgently needed to reduce emissions to zero. Unfortunately, too many “net zero” climate plans are being used to launder pollution and the status quo, jeopardizing the goals of the Paris Agreement. “


Wai-Shin Chan, Global Head of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Research at HSBC:

“The science is crystal clear, but the answer is not. Investors must use their influence to push policymakers to make the bold emission reductions needed to limit the most serious consequences of climate change.”

Reporting by Kate Abnett, Nina Chestney, Jake Spring; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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