Climate science triggers action from gov't, industry

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 2, 2014
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A growing body of scientific evidence has inspired governments and industries to respond to the threats posed by climate change, a senior UN official said.

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)'s Executive Director, Achim Steiner, told Xinhua in an interview in Nairobi this week that policymakers and investors have relied on climate science to initiate mitigation and adaptation projects.

"The latest assessment report is categorical that we are faced with a climate change threat and the consequences on our ecosystems will be profound," Steiner said ahead of the launch of the 5th assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"It is easier to predict impacts of climate change if scientific data is available," Steiner remarked. He said governments have responded to compelling scientific evidence pointing at the risks posed by global warming.

Steiner said there is a consensus among countries on the need to revitalize action on climate change to deter economic losses and destruction of vital habitats.

"Many governments have begun to respond to climate change with renewed vigour. Climate leadership has gained currency and Heads of State are talking about the phenomenon," Steiner said.

The UNEP executive director said countries will pledge new commitment to reduce carbon emissions during the climate talks in Peru in December. He emphasized that low-carbon development dovetails with a country's economic interests. The industrialized countries have readjusted their growth models to achieve zero carbon emission.

Steiner noted that these countries have reorganized their energy, transport and manufacturing sectors to accelerate low carbon development.

China and other emerging economies are critical players in the advancement of a green agenda. Steiner hailed Chinese leadership for renewing their commitment towards emissions reduction and protection of ecosystems.

"As countries develop economically, they have access to technologies that can be harnessed to catalyze low-carbon growth. China has an opportunity to invest in cleaner manufacturing," Steiner said.

He noted that a revitalized climate leadership at global, national and local level offers hope to vulnerable societies. He said no government has opposed climate science and there is a consensus on the need to develop policy and legislative tools to respond effectively to extreme weather events.

"Countries have injected fresh momentum towards realization of zero emissions. Debate about climate change is more robust compared to five years ago," Steiner said, adding that climate change skeptics have diminished in the light of authoritative scientific evidence.

Scientific knowledge will enable countries to initiate robust mitigation and adaptation projects. Steiner noted that new evidence contained in the IPCC 5th assessment report will inform action at global, regional and national levels.

"The latest assessment looks at science and opportunities countries would seize to accelerate low carbon transition," Steiner said.

Governments have forged links with industry and civil society to revitalize action on climate change. Steiner said that emission of greenhouse gases has reduced thanks to stewardship from political and business leaders.

"Leaders have realized they have a responsibility to act before impacts of global warming snowball. Executives from sectors like energy, manufacturing and retail have realized that climate change is a threat to business," Steiner said.

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