IPCC: Climate impacts stronger than expected

Most affected countries are most affected

IPCC: Overview of physical and biological climate impacts worldwide © IPCC
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After a week of tough negotiations, the UN Climate Council (IPCC) adopted the second part of the United Nations' fourth climate report on Friday in Brussels. Until the last minute, the negotiations on individual formulations continued.


The report of Working Group II of the IPCC is the second of a total of 3 sub-volumes of the 4th Assessment Report (AR4). It reflects current scientific knowledge on the effects of climatic changes on natural, managed and human systems, their adaptability and vulnerability, and is based on the analysis of some 2, 000 scientists from around the world and government envoys from 120 countries.

Man clearly pointed out as the cause

The report shows for the first time that global environmental change and damage is due to man-made climate change and will be significantly stronger than expected. All in all, the faster warming expected by the experts is very likely to cause significant negative effects - even in Europe and Germany. According to experts, climate change is likely to overwhelm many ecosystems in this century. If the temperature increases by more than 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius, around 20 to 30 percent of the animal and plant species could die out, according to the IPCC.

Affected by climate impacts such as hunger, lack of water, storms and floods are especially the poorest countries. "The poor are the most vulnerable and they are most affected by the effects of climate change, " said Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. "The result is global responsibility." The most dramatic impact is on Africa, where up to 250 million people are thought to be suffering from water shortages by 2020. In some countries, crops will fall by half. display

Man clearly pointed out as the cause

"International climate research today is able to detect with high reliability the consequences of man-made climate change in all regions of the world. This is a considerable step forward compared to the last progress report, "said Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel. "The report makes it clear that the more the climate changes, the more serious are the consequences for humans and the environment. But they are less momentous the sooner and more resolute action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "

"This report paints a picture of an apocalyptic future. It must be acted immediately commented Greenpeace climate expert Dr. med. Gabriela von Goerne the result. He is a scathing reminder of how dramatically the world will change if man does not get control of the climate change. If we continue as before, there will soon be no place where we are still safe from the effects of climate change.

Reactions of equanimity

Even in the final phase of the formulation of the "Summary for Decision-Makers" there were disagreements among the representatives of the states. The US, as well as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have changed some passages. For example, a section on the anticipated climate impacts in North America was completely deleted, and the extent of expected extinction of plant and animal species was also contentious. It also discussed the question of whether an estimate of the financial costs of the climate catastrophe should be included in the report, as well as information on the reliability of previous observations.

While China and Australia, two of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, were unimpressed by the dramatic scenarios that the report predicts, there appears to be a shift in the US now, at least in the opposition : The Democrats plan to cut back more on industrial CO emissions by the end of this year. They announced a stronger confrontation with the government of US President George W. Bush in Congress on this issue. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard, on the other hand, saw "little news" in the report and reaffirmed his government's no to the Kyoto Protocol.

to breakaway mood

In Germany, leading politicians and companies called for an immediate rethinking of climate policy after the report was published. IndustrThe industrialized countries are the main causes of climate change. That is why they have a special responsibility, said German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul. Rich nations would have to radically reduce their emissions. Today climate change is the # 1 security risk for humanity. On the other hand, we all need to build a shield. "

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) therefore intends to intensify its climate protection activities and, with the action program "Research for Climate Change", to invest 255 million euros over the next three years provide. "Living and managing climate change is one of the key challenges of our time, " said Federal Minister of Research Dr. Ing. Annette Schavan. I invited high-ranking representatives of business, science and politics to a climate research summit in Hamburg on 3 May 2007 to arrange a national climate research strategy.

You can find more about this in our special "IPCC Climate Report"

(IPCC, BMU, BMBF, Greenpeace, 10.04.2007 - NPO)