15 year window to curb climate change, Berlin panel reports

Athabasca Glacier - Future Atlas

By Jonny Wakefield

April 10, 2014

World leaders have roughly 15 years to control carbon emissions and prevent potentially catastrophic climate change, a UN panel gathered in Germany heard earlier this week.

That was the message the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered late last month in its report on climate change, which many have called its bleakest yet.

The panel, which is gathered in Berlin, is looking at ways to cut anthropogenic emissions before disruption to the earth's climate becomes unmanageable, the AFP reports.

According to a draft of a document from the Berlin panel, which is being produced to inform leaders of their options to curb climate change, humanity has 15 years to cut emissions and remain within temperature rise limits deemed safe by the UN. Under the latest IPCC models, the earth's climate can be safely maintained if warming is kept within 2 degrees Celsius of average temperatures in preindustrial times.  

The report for policy makers is expected to be released Sunday.

World leaders are attempting to reach an agreement over acceptable emissions standards next year. The current estimates show that to maintain safe temperatures, emissions would have to fall by around one-third by 2050. Current estimates of global CO2 emissions are pegged at 49 billion tons per year.

Canada is ranked last among OECD countries for its steps to reduce climate change, in part for its decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Accord. Some have noted that unlike many countries, Canada could stand to gain from climate change, as it opens new regions of the north to resource development.  



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