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Climate summit: ‘Worst-case scenarios are being realised’

975862_droughtScientists attending the “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions” summit in Copenhagen that wrapped up today have released the six key conclusions reached by participants:

  1. Climate trends are worsening and accelerating. “(T)he worst-case IPCC (for ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’) scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised.”
  2. There’s a growing risk of social disruption. “Recent observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities particularly at risk.”
  3. Rapid, sustained and effective action needs to begin now. ” Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult.”
  4. The impacts of climate change will aggravate global inequality. “An effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable.”
  5. Society has the tools and approaches to deal with climate change, but needs to stop dithering. “There is no excuse for inaction.”
  6. Tackling climate change will require overcoming numerous hurdles. “These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for governments to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability.”

More than 2,500 delegates from nearly 80 countries attended the summit to prepare an updated climate report in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December.

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