Latest IPCC report to emphasize world cannot wait for climate action [1]

CONTACT: Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager, hoda@350.org, +201001-840990

Yokohama, Japan — The release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) serves as an urgent warning that the world is running out of time to transition away from fossil fuels and towards a low-carbon future, according to the climate campaign 350.org.

“This report is expected to show that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a clear and present danger that comes in the form of more floods, droughts, and superstorms,” commented Hoda Baraka, 350.org Global Communications Manager. “The only way to minimize these devastating impacts is to keep much of known coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground. We simply cannot allow the fossil fuel industry to continue their business as usual.”

The latest IPCC report will highlight the fact that society is vastly underprepared to deal with the increased risks posed by climate change impacts while the dangers of a warming planet are immediate and very human. The report warns that climate change is already negatively affecting every continent. It also confirms that the big risks and overall effects of global warming are far more immediate and local than once thought.

“This report will show that climate change is not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants,” continued Baraka. “It’s about the human suffering around hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war; all of which are expected to become worse if we don’t take action now.”

The report highlights that scientists are already observing many changes from a warming planet, such as an increase in heat waves in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Severe floods are now more common in Africa and Australia while Europe and North America are getting more intense downpours. Melting ice in the Arctic is not only affecting the polar bear, but already affecting the livelihoods of indigenous people in northern Canada.

The report will also make it clear that the world is running out of time to prevent climate catastrophe. The IPCC scientists warn that without dramatically and urgently reducing carbon pollution, the impacts of climate change will go beyond our ability to adapt to them. This means that immediate action must be taken to limit the ability of the fossil fuel industry to continue burning through their coal, oil and gas reserves.

The IPCC’s earlier installment released in September 2013 included a carbon budget assessment thus recognising the amount of emissions to keep within 2°C is finite – another timely reminder of the systemic risk sitting on the books of extractives companies. Currently, the fossil fuel industry has roughly 2795 gigatons of CO2 in their reserves.To keep emissions under the 2°C threshold, major polluting nations would need to commit to policies to keep nearly 80% of these reserves underground.

“The release of this latest report is an occasion for us to redouble our efforts to fight climate change,” said Jamie Henn, 350.org Strategy and Communications Director. “First and foremost, that means standing up to the fossil fuel industry. Thankfully, the global climate movement is gaining in strength everyday. From fighting coal plants in India to stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, we’re taking this fight directly to the industries that are causing the problem.”

350.org is challenging the coal, oil and gas industry through its growing fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has spread to over 500 universities, cities, and religious institutions around the world. A recent study by the University of Oxford concluded that the movement is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and that, “The outcome of the stigmatisation process, which the fossil fuel divestment campaign has now triggered, poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies and the vast energy value chain.”

350.org is also working with youth activists across the globe as part of the Global Power Shift movement to help build national level ambition for climate action. In June last year, over 500 youth activists converged in Istanbul to help plan the next phase of their cooperative work to take on the fossil fuels industry and their political defenders at home and abroad. Some of these plans have come to fruition with the launch of power shift campaigns in many countries including India, Australia, Sweden, Vietnam and Philippines serving to spark a wave of convergences, campaigns, and mobilisations for climate action.

This IPCC report comes on the heels of the The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) latest report highlighting extreme weather events, confirming that the dramatic impacts of droughts, heat waves, floods, and tropical cyclones are consistent with what is expected as a result of human-caused climate change.

Also last week came the announcement that this year’s first 400 ppm reading came a full two months earlier and the seeming inexorable upward march is likely to race past another milestone next month.

All of this comes just six months before the UN Secretary General’s climate summit is held and when the world will be watching if world leaders commit to actions paving the way for a new international climate treaty due in 2015.

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[1] This press release includes global human stories written by 350.org These stories highlight the reality of climate change affecting the lives of communities worldwide adding to the need for immediate climate action.

Climate impacts stories from around the world:

INDIA:  The Rising Cost of Climate Impacts in India

PACIFIC: Climate Impacts and the Climate Warriors of the Island of Kiribati

AUSTRALIA: Climate Impacts: Australia’s ‘Angry Summer’

UNITED KINGDOM: UK: Climate Impacts Have Never Hit Closer to Home

BRAZIL: Brazil: Climate Impacts – From Floods to Droughts

AZERBAIJAN: Azerbaijan: Climate Impacts in Mountain Villages

BURUNDI: Burundi: Climate Impacts Hit Bujumbura

LATIN AMERICA: Impacts of Climate Change in Latin America: 5 Things You Need to Know

 

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