UN experts assess climate change options


By Mariette Le Roux, AFP

BERLIN–A week after publishing the starkest warning yet on the risks of climate change, U.N. experts meet in Berlin from Monday to assess options for limiting the threat. A draft of the report, seen by AFP, suggests there is a 15-year window for feasible and affordable action to safely reach the U.N.-targeted global warming limit. But deep, swift curbs in carbon emissions will be needed, with a revolution in energy use, it says. The report is the third chapter in the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Six years in the making, it provides policymakers with the latest science on global warming, to feed into national planning and the struggling effort to forge a worldwide pact by next year on curbing Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions. “I hope that this report will help to revitalize … climate politics and a sense of urgency from governments,” Bill Hare of the think tank Climate Analytics told AFP. The meeting comes eight days after the second volume of the report, on the likely impacts of climate change, was unveiled in Yokohama, Japan. It issued unprecedented warnings that the risk of conflict, hunger, floods and mass displacement increased with every upward creep of the mercury. The draft of the new 29-page summary, which will be hammered out in Berlin over five days before it is publicly released on Sunday, expresses no preferences for how to tame the problem, nor does it say what a safe level of warming would be. 2030 Window

But it says the U.N. target — to limit average warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels — remains feasible. There is a “likely” chance of meeting it if greenhouse-gas concentrations by 2100 are 430-480 particles per million of carbon dioxide equivalent (ppm CO2eq), according to the draft. But this meant “all countries” will have act quickly to mitigate, or ease, carbon emissions. “Delaying mitigation through 2030 will increase the challenges,” cautions the document. In raw terms, global carbon emissions of 49 billion tonnes of CO2eq in 2010 will have to be pegged to 30-50 billion tonnes in 2030. Emissions have maintained an upward curve despite a small dip after the 2007-08 global economic crisis, and will be hard to contain as developing economies consume ever more fossil fuel and the global population expands.