Wrangle over wording in U.N. climate report

Climate experts sparred on Thursday over the wording of a U.N. report spelling out the grim impact of global warming and are struggling to meet a Friday deadline.

Wrangle over wording in U.N. climate report

Climate experts sparred on Thursday over the wording of aU.N. report spelling out the grim impact of global warming and are strugglingto meet a Friday deadline.

Delegates from more than 100 countries convened in Brussels this week to discuss the report andhave yet to agree on all its contents, less than 24 hours before its scheduledFriday release, people familiar with the talks said.

It predicts rising temperatures will lead to more hunger in Africa, themelting of Himalayan glaciers, more heatwaves in the United States and damage to Australia'sGreat Barrier Reef.

"There is wrangling happening," said Hans Verolme, director of theglobal climate change program at WWF, an environmental group that is an observerto the meeting.

"There are some who are questioning the scientific basis ... of some ofthe summary statements, which is leading the authors to have to go back to theunderlying document."

The U.N. panel's report is the most authoritative study since 2001 on theregional impact of climate change.

Verolme said the fact world leaders would read the report's summary hadadded pressure for consensus on the wording.

"There is discussion whether something is 'likely' or 'very likely',and my sense is that is because people are aware here that heads of state arepaying attention," he said.

"If the text says this is very likely, the response (from governments)has to be very significant."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draws on work by 2,500scientists. A previous report released in Parisin February concluded it was more than 90 percent likely that recent warminghad a predominantly human cause.

"They know they are under the gun, but it could run late," onedelegate said of the Brusselsmeeting. "It's more complex than it was in Paris and they are further behindschedule."

Costs, species extinction

The IPCC has only once broken up without a deal, at talks in Geneva in 1995. It metsuccessfully in Montreala few weeks later. "It's not the end of the world if you have to give it apause," said James Bruce, a Canadian who chaired those talks.

Environmental groups said this week governments must act to reducegreenhouse gas emissions or risk exacerbating poverty in developing countriesand destroying natural wonders worldwide.

The report says rising temperatures will have costs for society even thoughsome countries, such as Canadaand Russiain the north, might benefit for a while from higher farm yields.

"Impacts of unmitigated climate change will vary regionally but,aggregated and discounted to the present, they are very likely to impose costs... and these costs would increase over time," a draft copy says.

The draft says "roughly 20-30 percent of species are likely to be atrisk of irreversible extinction" if the global average temperature risesby 1.5-2.5 degrees Celsius (2.7-4.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

Seas could keep rising for centuries and the report emphasizes the linkbetween human activities and climate change.

"At the global scale the anthropogenic (human) component of warmingover the last three decades has had a discernible influence on many physicaland biological systems," it says.

It says there is "medium confidence" that Greenlandand West Antarctic ice sheets could start melting if temperatures rise morethan 1-2 degrees Celsius "causing sea level rise of 4-6 meters overcenturies to millennia."

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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