The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in the report released Sunday said greenhouse gases across the earth are increasing faster than ever, and although it remains technologically possible to keep planetary warming tolerably low, it will require and intensive push in the next 15 years to bring greenhouse emissions under control.
The report said the emissions problem has caused atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to rise almost twice as fast, in the 21st century, as it did in the last decades of the 20th, reflecting an increase in coal-fired power plants in developing countries, most notably China. It added advanced countries are making progress, but only slowly, in cutting their emissions levels.
“We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the committee which produced the report and a German economist. “If we lose another decade it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”
The report noted that action is becoming more affordable. Solar and wind power costs are dropping dramatically, and tougher efficiency standards for buildings and cars are having a positive and measurable impact. Since the last time the intergovernmental panel issued a report, in 2007, many more governments have adopted climate plans, it said.
The report is likely to increase pressure to secure a new global climate treaty to take effect in 2020.
[New York Times]