Alexa

Delegates rush to finish climate change report, laying out measures to halt global warming

Delegates rush to finish climate change report, laying out measures to halt global warming

Delegates to a climate change conference rushed Thursday to finish a report mapping out measures to combat global warming, confident they can overcome China and India's objections about the cost and urgency of acting quickly, delegates said.
A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change _ the United Nations network of 2,000 scientists _ on how the world should cope with global warming is being debated in secret this week by delegates from more than 120 governments.
A final version expected by Friday will warn of catastrophe unless the world acts quickly to stem climate change.
"It's going more smoothly than we anticipated," said Michel Petit, a French delegate who expected the report to be completed early Friday.
"China and India were the governments having more questions and requesting changes in the existing text," he said. "But up to now, every time we were able to overcome their concerns and come to an agreement."
The report is expected to urge countries to deploy an array of measures _ including energy-efficient technologies, a shift away from coal, and agricultural reforms _ to keep world temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), thereby limiting the impact of global warming.
China, the world's second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States, has indicated it wants the report to better reflect its belief that richer countries are responsible for global warming and should take the lead in cleaning up the problem, delegates said.
A member for the Chinese delegation refused to discuss specifics of their demands, other than to say they wanted the "truth of the science" to be reflected in the document.
It has also joined up with the United States, according to comments submitted ahead of the meeting, to suggest the proposed cap on greenhouse gas levels is too low and reaching the target would be too expensive. The two countries are expected to attempt to insert language into the final report that would weaken the conclusion that quick action can stabilize greenhouse gas levels.
"China is being the most vocal about the language," said Edward Mulbah, a delegate from Liberia. "They don't want to be held responsible for consequences in the future."
India, for its part, has raised objections to language in the report that says significant emission cuts can be made in developing countries, delegates said. Instead, it has argued to strike such language as part of its demands that development must come ahead of caps on emissions.
Delegates, though, said most of the objections from India and China _ often efforts to strike language altogether versus amending it _ have been overcome so far as scientists provided proof on such basic issues as how mitigation measures corresponded to various emission levels.
Delegates were also debating different categories of energy use and ways to cut emissions as they went through a draft of the report summary, and were working into the night so negotiations could be wrapped up on Thursday.
One contentious issue has been whether and how to refer to nuclear power in the final summary. The United States, for instance, is pushing for a strong reference to atomic energy as a clean source of electricity, while environmentalists are arguing that other ways of cutting carbon emissions _ such as renewable energy sources _ should get priority.
Many environmentalists consider atomic energy too dangerous and costly to be a serious means of cutting greenhouse gases. "We don't believe that nuclear is a solution," said Stephan Singer of the conservation group WWF International.
Singer also called for governments and business leaders to quicken the pace of mitigation, saying "this can be done much faster than most governments want us to believe."
"The current IPCC debate, the current documents and the fight about this and then about the economic costs are a reflection on the commonly perceived thinking that fighting climate change costs a lot of money will harm the economy, will burden citizens, and will compromise the necessary economic growth and poverty alleviation in many countries," he said. "That is ... utter nonsense."
Two previous IPCC reports this year painted a dire picture of a future in which unabated greenhouse gas emissions could drive global temperatures up as much as 6 degrees C (11 degrees F) by 2100. Even a 2 degree C rise could subject up to 2 billion people, mostly in the developing world, to water shortages by 2050 and threaten extinction for 20 percent to 30 percent of the world's species, the IPCC said.
One of the reports concluded that global warming could increase the number of hungry in the world in 2080 by between 140 million and 1 billion by contributing to widespread droughts and flooding. Diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and dengue fever could spread as temperatures rise and weather becomes increasingly erratic, affecting the poorest of the world's poor.
___
On the Net:
http://www.ipcc.ch


Updated : 2021-02-27 09:44 GMT+08:00