Press release

Foreign Secretary welcomes UN IPCC report on Climate Change

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its latest assessment of climate science.

Today, the IPCC published the first of three volumes of the Fifth Assessment Report.

In agreement with Secretary of State Edward Davey, Foreign Secretary William Hague also conveyed the urgency of addressing the report’s latest findings.

He said:

“The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment of the science confirms that climate change is already happening, as a result of human activity. The odds of extreme weather events, which threaten lives and property, have increased. Sea levels are rising, and ice is melting faster than we expected.

“The IPCC’s report makes clear that unless we act now to reduce carbon emissions, all this will continue to worsen in coming decades. Governments, businesses and individuals all have a responsibility to tackle climate change. The longer we delay, the higher the risks and the greater the costs to present and future generations.”

The Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, Neil Morisetti, also recognised the importance of this comprehensive body of evidence, and agreed that the report:

“…plays a fundamental role in reinforcing the need to respond to a changing climate and will be used by governments around the world to inform their response to one of the greatest threats we face. The wide range of evidence reinforces what we have known for some time: the world continues to get warmer as the climate changes. Extreme weather events are already happening more frequently.

“Unless we take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low carbon, resource effective world, we are likely to see at least a two degree, and potentially as much as five degree, rise in global temperatures by the end of this century. This represents a fundamental risk to global stability and prosperity. The need for global action now is clear.”

The report concludes that the scientific evidence is clear – human activity has caused the warming of the climate system over the last century. This is unequivocal, and associated climate changes have been widely observed.

Further information

Highlights from the AR5 Summary:

  • Global temperatures have risen by 0.9°C since 1901.
  • Sea levels have risen by about 0.2 m since 1901, and the rate of rise is increasing.
  • Arctic sea ice cover in the summer has reduced in area by about 40% since 1979.
  • The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, as are the majority of glaciers worldwide.
  • The odds of many extreme climate and weather events have increased, and are expected to increase further in coming decades.
  • The full Summary for Policymakers is available here.

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