| VALENCIA, Spain
VALENCIA, Spain A U.N. climate conference
agreed on Friday on a blueprint for fighting global warming and
said governments have only a few years to avert some of the
Delegates at the 130-nation talks stood and applauded after
chairman Rajendra Pachauri brought down the gavel on the
November 12-17 meeting in Valencia, Spain, that wraps up six
years of work on the most authoritative review of climate
Government delegates and scientists agreed a summary of
some 20 pages late on Friday about the mounting risk of climate
change -- ranging from extinctions to rising sea levels -- and
condensing 3,000 pages of science published earlier this year.
"This is the strongest report yet by the IPCC
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) but says that there
is still time to act," said Bill Hare, an Australian climate
scientist who was among the authors.
The document will put pressure on environment ministers who
will meet next month in Bali, Indonesia, to do more to combat
warming. Many countries hope that Bali will agree a two-year
roadmap to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the
main U.N. plan for fighting warming until 2012.
"The report sends a very strong signal to Bali," said Hans
Verolme, director of the WWF conservation group's climate
change program. "Now it's up to the politicians."
Kyoto only sets binding goals for cutting greenhouse gases
for 36 industrial nations. The United States and developing
nations led by China, the two main emitters of greenhouse
gases, are outside Kyoto.
The IPCC report will be formally presented on Saturday by
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Valencia.
The summary says human activity is "very likely" to be the
cause of rising temperatures and that deep cuts in greenhouse
gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, are needed to
avert ever more heatwaves, melting glaciers, extinctions and
rising sea levels.
Under the toughest scenario considered by the IPCC,
greenhouse gases would have to peak by 2015 to limit global
temperature rises to 2.0 to 2.4 Celsius (3.6 to 4.3 Fahrenheit)
over pre-industrial times.
The European Union says 2.0 Celsius will be a threshold for
"dangerous" changes, and even with temperature rises of below
2.0 Celsius, the IPCC projects more wildfires, more deaths from
heatwaves, floods and droughts and more malnutrition in Africa.
The report says human activities could lead to "abrupt or
irreversible" climate changes and impacts, such as extinctions
Delegates from the environmental movement appeared happy
the synthesis had not watered down the message from the
scientists. "I think the report is somewhat stronger than many
people feared," one delegate said.
Kyoto now obliges 36 industrial nations to cut emissions by
at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.
The IPCC has drawn much more attention since it became the
joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice
President Al Gore. This has meant that governments are watching
and shaping its conclusions with even more care.
(With extra reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo; Editing by