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95% Likelihood Climate Change Is Manmade Says IPCC


Cutting HFCs, Black Carbon, Methane Can Slow Glacial Melt, Other Impacts in Near-Term

Washington DC, September 26, 2013 – On Friday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to release the first of four volumes of its fifth comprehensive assessment of scientific knowledge on climate change, known as AR5. The report is expected to state with 95% confidence that most of the observed global warming since 1950 is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases. It is also expected to provide updated estimates of temperature projections for this century and updates to projections of major climate impacts such as sea level rise and glacier melt.

In an interview given earlier this week in the Financial Times, IPCC chairman Rachendra Pachauri announced that “Himalayan glaciers are melting so fast they could affect the water supplies of nearly a billion people in South and South East Asia within 22 years… which affect, as we had estimated, 500m people in south Asia and 250m people in China.”

The first volume was written by IPCC Working Group I and will cover the physical science of climate change, and will be followed over the next 14 months by the remaining three.

“There’s now no denying that climate change is real and it’s impacts are occurring faster and are worse than we could have predicted even six years ago,” stated Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

“We can’t solve a fast-moving climate problem with a slow-moving assessment and a slower-moving legal process,” Zaelke added. “We need fast action to address climate change, starting with cuts in the short-lived climate pollutants to complement cuts in long-lived CO2.”

Recent studies have projected that cutting short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)—hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon, methane, and tropospheric ozone—can quickly cut the rate of global warming in half in 2050, cut the rate of warming in the vulnerable Arctic by two thirds, and the rate of warming in the elevated regions of the Himalayas and Tibet by at least half. Cutting SLCPs could avoid as much as 0.6°C of warming by 2050 and 1.5°C by the end of the century, while saving millions of lives and tons of agricultural production lost every year to air pollution.

“Cutting HFCs under the Montreal Protocol is the best opportunity that we have today to slow near-term warming and climate impacts,” stated Zaelke. “Cutting HFCs and the other SLCPs will help build the sense of urgent optimism the world needs to increase its ambition to reduce CO2 while starting to protect the vulnerable people and places of the world today.”

The IPCC WGI AR5 Summary for Policymakers will be available here on 27 September 2013.