UN body lays out stark future under extreme climate change

Global transition

Solutions exist but world leaders must act now to avert the worst effects

EU leaders have been handed a warning by the world’s leading climate scientists that our society is vastly underprepared to deal with the risks posed by unavoidable climate change impacts.

The second installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5, Working Group II) was released in Yokohama today [1]. It highlights how climate change is already negatively affecting the oceans and every continent, including Europe. The report also points out that delayed climate action will cost more and be less effective. As CAN Europe’s recent report This Is Climate Change In Europe shows, Europe is not immune from these effects.

“Any false sense that climate change will not touch Europe is dispelled in this report,” said Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe. “Climate change is happening here and now, in Europe too, and it will only get worse without strong climate action. The EU must step up climate efforts immediately by increasing its emissions reductions, renewable energy share and energy efficiency targets for 2030.”

The IPCC has conservatively estimated the cost to adapt in the developing world alone to be more than 60 billion euros each year – a figure that does not consider the loss of those things without monetary value, such as culture, lives and biodiversity. Impacts in Europe under all future climate change scenarios will include coastal and river flooding, regional tourism declines, drought, food insecurity, “megafires,” rainfall loss, decline in forest value, ocean warming, widespread biodiversity loss and more.

“Climate change is already driving hunger, but without urgent global leadership by EU governments to radically curb emissions at home, disasters will only increase in size and severity – and Europe will not be spared,” said Natalia Alonso, Oxfam’s Head of EU Office. “Increased floods and droughts in Europe will continue to affect local harvests. In addition, over 70% of EU-imported food comes from developing countries, many of which are at great risk of climate impacts.”

The risk of exacerbating climate impacts to a catastrophic level is too great to impose upon the people and nature of Europe. But solutions exist, including investing into renewable energies, an area where Europe already excels. Taking stronger climate action now would deliver important benefits for communities, economies and the environments they depend on. The vast majority of Europeans recognize climate change as a threat to our future [2]. Our leaders must respond to their calls for real climate solutions.



Vanessa Bulkacz, CAN Europe Communications Manager, Vanessa@caneurope.org, +32 494 525 738

Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director, wendel@caneurope.org, +32 473 170 887

Àngela Corbalán, EU Head of Communications, Oxfam EU Advocacy Office, Angela.Corbalan@oxfaminternational.org, +32 2 234 11 15

**Photos of people on the front lines of climate change are available for media use. Please contact Vanessa@caneurope.org if interested in obtaining these files. **

Editor’s Notes:

[1] The IPCC press conference releasing the Summary for Policy Makers for Working Group II is schedule for Monday 31st March, 2014 at 02:00 CET (09:00 in Japan) and will be rebroadcast here: www.ipcc.ch/webcast

[2] A recent Eurobarometer survey shows 9 out of 10 Europeans recognize climate change as a “very serious” or “serious” threat and that 4 out of 5 agree that fighting climate change can boost the economy and jobs in Europe. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-201_en.htm

NEXT STEPS: The third installment of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report (Working Group III, mitigation) is scheduled for release in Berlin on April 13th, focusing on the science behind reducing carbon pollution. The Working Group II and III reports – which are signed off by world governments – come just six months before the UN Secretary General’s climate summit at which leaders must commit to immediately increasing climate action in order to pave the way for the new international climate treaty due in 2015.