IPCC releases climate report in Copenhagen

Climate change to increase “severe, pervasive and irreversible” events, but options still available to adapt

After a week of intense negotiations in the Danish capital the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report on Sunday and the message is clear, humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels needs to come to an end soon.

“Our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050,” RK Pachauri, IPCC chair, said in a press release, “falling to zero or below by 2100.”

This cut in emissions would lead to the achievement of limiting the warming of Earth’s temperature by just 2 degrees Celsius – the amount that governments have committed to reach.

Though the report highlights some of the same concerns the IPCC has raised in previous meetings, the tone this time is heightened.

“We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2 degrees of warming closes,” Pachauri said.

READ MORE: New Danish climate report bleak and frightening read

Change at what expense?
“It is a defining moment for humanity,” Ban Ki-Moon said in a press conference in Copenhagen. “Let’s work together to make this world sustainable. It will be expensive, but the cost of doing nothing will be far greater.”

The report states that mitigation needs to happen sooner rather than later and that even though mitigation costs would vary, “economic growth would not be strongly affected”.

The press release states that economic growth patterns of consumption for this century, expected to be 1.6 to 3 percent per year, would only reduce by 0.06 percentage points if mitigation were ambitiously pursued.

The report outlines several “pathways” in which governments can reach their joint goal, but all take into account the near elimination of the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.