News / Science & Technology

    UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

    UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disasteri
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    Rosanne Skirble
    April 14, 2014 8:58 PM
    A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
    UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster
    Rosanne Skirble
    The world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change, a new United Nations report warns. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin.

    The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent release what to do about it.
    Co-Chairmen of the IPCC Working Group III Ramon Pichs Madruga and Ottmar Edenhofer pose with Rejendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC prior to a press conference in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.Co-Chairmen of the IPCC Working Group III Ramon Pichs Madruga and Ottmar Edenhofer pose with Rejendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC prior to a press conference in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.
    x
    Co-Chairmen of the IPCC Working Group III Ramon Pichs Madruga and Ottmar Edenhofer pose with Rejendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC prior to a press conference in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.
    Co-Chairmen of the IPCC Working Group III Ramon Pichs Madruga and Ottmar Edenhofer pose with Rejendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC prior to a press conference in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.

    Solution: One project at a time

    The solution to the climate problem could start with this: a massive solar project in California’s Mohave Desert. It began operation in February and will provide enough power for 140,000 homes, says NRG Energy President David Crane.

    “Our generation of leadership can get the ball rolling in fighting against climate change so that the next generation, the people who are in their 20s and 30s today can finish the job, then we will have done the best that we can do to get this going,” he said.
          
    That kind of action must be taken on a global scale, and soon, says Rajendra Pachauri, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman.

    “If we really want to bring about a limitation of temperature increase to no more than two degrees Celsius then this is the message that comes out very clearly from this report,” he said.
     
    Emissions must be cut by 40-70 percent

    The report says global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by 40 to 70 percent by mid-century, compared with 2010, to avoid devastating effects from severe weather in a warmer world. But solutions are within reach, says Nathaniel Koehane, who leads international efforts to address climate change for the Environmental Defense Fund

    “There are a handful of things - around energy efficiency, renewable energy, reducing deforestation - a handful of things that the world could do and we could help the world turn the corner by 2020 and get on track to reduce emissions enough to keep the climate safe,” he said.

     
    Greenpeace activists protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.Greenpeace activists protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.
    x
    Greenpeace activists protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.
    Greenpeace activists protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2014.
    Renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydropower account for 8.5 percent of the world energy output, and 20 percent if nuclear is added to the mix. However, Koehane says a gulf exists between international efforts and what needs to be done to make the switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy.

    “When you look at the stats in the report you see that coal is growing faster than other sources," he said. "So we need to reverse that trend and we do need to rapidly ramp up the sources of renewable power, the share of renewable power.”

    Window of opportunity to act

    The report finds that the longer the delay in controlling emissions, the greater the cost to public health and the environment. Koehane says voters must tell their governments that climate change matters.

    “We need to get on top of it," he said. "But optimism comes from knowing that if we do get that political will and if we can push in that direction, that we have the technologies to get started. We just need everybody to pitch in.”

    The report says a window of opportunity remains for the world community to act.  U.N. negotiators are working on a new international agreement to curb global emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, which expired in 2012.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Felix Alicea-Gonzalez from: US
    April 16, 2014 10:47 AM
    UN, and raising level of awareness, will not impact those who continue endangering our planet. UN as a tool at the service of those who already produced increments in climate change, will not advance the agenda of at least getting closer to the goal, by 2050. Thinking that by pushing political leaders..., will eventually help, is very naive.
    What examples do we have, to sustain that people's movements forced the "money power" to conduct businesses less profitably, to benefit humanity?
    Unless armed forces backing people's laws are implemented, "business as usual" will prevail, disgracefully.

    by: mememine69 from: toronto
    April 15, 2014 12:20 AM
    Only science can have certainty, not a mob of determined "believers" that are only serving to divide the environmental movement at the cost of productive and meaningful stewardship.
    32 years of 95% certainty is anything you want it to be, except; “settled science”, “certainty”, “believable” or “sustainable” and unless science ends this costly debate soon by finally having certainty, any chance at climate action is impossible and dooms us all to a CO2 crisis for billions of innocent children.
    Get ahead of the curve;
    *Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.
    *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

    by: John St.Clair from: USA
    April 14, 2014 8:08 PM
    I have experimented with negative energy generators and found that negative energy cools objects down.
    It might be possible to deploy them in order to keep the Earth's temperature in a comfortable range.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora