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Climate Change Will Be Overwhelming and Ubiquitous


Updates in latest IPCC report are more certain and more devastating

Washington, DC, 31 March 2014 – Widespread climate change impacts have already begun and are expected to get worse, according to the latest report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this weekend in Yokohamo, Japan.

The impacts include heat waves, droughts, floods and wildfires, and they affect impoverished peoples and nations disproportionately. However, the report notes that no one will be unaffected by future climate change. Some impacts such as the release of the powerful climate pollutant methane from the melting permafrost have the potential to trigger accelerating feedback loops that will push temperatures even higher.

The IPCC report shows the need for fast action mitigation in the near-term. A key focus needs to be reducing short-lived climate pollutants, which has the potential to cut the rate of climate change in half, slowing global temperature rise by up to ~0.6°C by 2050 and 1.3°C by 2100. Fast action mitigation can be achieved by using existing laws and institutions to cut hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon soot, methane, and tropospheric ozone.

"The IPCC report should supercharge efforts to cut HFCs and the other short-lived climate pollutants," said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. "Early success with the HFC amendment under the Montreal Protocol this year or in early 2015 will essentially eliminate one of the six main greenhouse gases, and provide powerful momentum for a successful COP 21 in Paris at the end of 2015.”

"President Obama and Secretary John Kerry have long recognized that it's critical to cut HFCs and the other short-lived climate pollutants to win near-term climate relief,” said Zaelke. "The President's new methane reduction strategies announced last week show he and his climate team are continuing to walk the walk at home, even as they promote these strategies internationally, as the President did last week at the Council of Europe."

IPCC’s WGII AR5 Final Draft Report is here.

IGSD’s Primer on HFCs is here.

IGSD’s Primer on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants is here.