The draft of a UN report summarizing over hundreds of papers on global warming has been leaked to Bloomberg. The draft, dated August 25, is considered the most important document produced by the UN on the matter of global warming, and seeks to convince over 190 nations to agree to limit emissions. In a statement by Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change in Geneva,
[The report] will provide policymakers with a scientific foundation to tackle the challenge of climate change… It would help governments and other stakeholders work together at various levels, including a new international agreement to limit climate change.”
According to the report, we risk causing irreversible damage to the planet unless stronger initiatives are taken to limit the impact. Main points of the draft include:
Temperatures have risen: Since 1880, temperatures have risen by 0.85 of a degree. Dangers associated with a continuous rise in temperatures include damage to crop production, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and heat waves.
Ice is melting: An associated risk of rising temperatures is the melting of Greenland’s ice which, by itself, would boost sea levels by approximately 7 feet. This would directly threaten coastal cities (such as Miami) and island nations.
Surface temperatures will rise: The IPCC expects surface temperatures to continue to rise under all scenarios, ranging from a gain of 0.3 degrees to 4.8 degrees. This range is dependent on the policies nations choose to pursue.
Along with potential risks, the report also demonstrates the struggle ahead in limiting the damage already done. As stated by the Bloomberg piece,
To stand a two-thirds chance of meeting the temperature goal, cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide since 1870 must be limited to about 2,900 gigatons, according to the study. Two thirds of that carbon already has been released into the atmosphere, they said.”
It is clear that action needs to be taken. By delaying action, policymakers will only increase the risks and costs.
The final report is due for publication on November 2, 2014.
Read more here-“ Irreversible Damage Seen From Climate Change in UN Leak,” (Alex Morales, Bloomberg)