UN climate report lays out world's options, say Reading scientists
Release Date 03 November 2014
The latest UN climate report provides the most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evidence, effects and potential solutions to climate change, according to scientists at the University of Reading.
The Synthesis Report, published today (2 Nov 2014) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), pulls together the key conclusions from a series of reports published over the last year, covering the physical science of climate change, its impacts and how society must adapt to them, and how to mitigate against future problems.
University of Reading scientists have played a leading role in the IPCC report, with 19 scientists involved as named authors, and many more contributing to the process.
Professor Rowan Sutton, an IPCC lead author and the Director of Climate Research in the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), based at the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, said:
"The scientific evidence laid out in this report is clear. Leaving the issue of climate change for future generations to deal with is a phenomenally high-risk option.
"This report provides the evidence to support the tough decisions that governments will now need to make to deal with this problem.
"Scientists have shown that the evidence of human activities affecting climate is increasingly widespread and stronger than ever. While uncertainties remain about exactly how much the world will warm and about detailed local and regional changes, the overall message is that climate change poses very serious risks to us all.
"In Britain, we could be hit by an increasing number of very hot days, and intense rainfall events, for example. Other countries will be affected in different ways. But in a globalised world, there will be no hiding place from the effects of climate change."
Professor Nigel Arnell, an IPCC lead author and Director of the University of Reading's Walker Institute for Climate System Research, said:
"Pulling all the scientific evidence together, it is clear that the risks from climate change are serious, pervasive and irreversible. Future generations will feel the impact of today's carbon emissions for many years. For example, sea level rise is predicted to continue for centuries, or possibly even for thousands of years to come, due to the effects of fossil fuels that we have already burnt.
"Deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are needed by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, with emissions needing to fall close to zero by the end of the century. Action and financing for adaptation are also vital as even stringent cuts in emissions will not avoid climate change altogether.
"Agreeing a global deal to achieve such substantial reductions in greenhouse gases is the enormous challenge that will face governments when they meet at the UN climate summit in Peru next month, and Paris next year. Delaying action will make addressing climate change more difficult, more dangerous and more expensive."