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Groups urge swift transition to green energy amid climate-change impacts

Published on 2 April 2014 Global

 ‘Green” groups on Monday reiterated the call to shift to clean, renewable energy (RE) as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a new warning on the impacts of climate change.

In a news statement, Greenpeace urged world leaders to accelerate the transition to clean and safe RE.

Greenpeace demands governments to come to the climate summit of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September with serious offers that will help achieve a 100-percent  RE system. Solar, wind and other clean energy are already challenging the old system, but governments must accelerate the transition, the group said.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), for its part, said the latest IPCC report “gives the clearest and most comprehensive evidence yet that the earth we call home is in deep trouble.”

According to WWF, the report reinforces the sobering view that climate change is real, it’s happening now and it’s affecting the lives and the livelihoods of people, as well as the sensitive ecosystems that sustain life.

“We’re walking a tightrope, but if we act boldly and cut climate pollution faster, major threats to human security can still be avoided and vital ocean systems, forests and species protected. Our actions will define how history will judge us and we question world leaders: Will you stand with us?” Kaisa Kosonen of Greenpeace International said.

Jen Maman, Greenpeace peace adviser, said oil rigs and coal power plants are veritable weapons of mass destruction, loading the atmosphere with destructive carbon emissions that don’t respect national borders.

“To protect our peace and security, we must disarm them and accelerate the transition to clean and safe renewable energy that’s already started,” she said.

“Let’s not get distracted by limited economic models or be blinded by GDP [gross domestic product.] What value can you put on the lives of 8,000 people left dead or missing by Typhoon Haiyan? Or what is the cost of the trauma of children being torn from their mother’s arms due to storm surges? That is the true cost of climate change that should define the urgency of the action we take,” Amalie Obusan, regional climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia based in the Philippines, said.

“Today it’s the victims who are paying the costs of climate change, while polluters are going free. Oil, coal and gas companies are earning huge profits but not being held liable for the damage they are causing. This has got to change, and we are determined to change it,” she said.

Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative said: “This report tells us that we have two clear choices: cut emissions now and invest in adaptation—and have a world that has challenging and just barely manageable risks; or do nothing and face a world of devastating and unmanageable risks and impacts.”

“The report makes it clear that we still have time to act. We can limit climate instability and adapt to some of the changes we see now. But without immediate and specific action, we are in danger of going far beyond the limits of adaptation. With this risk posed so clearly, we have to hope that the next IPCC report, which is being released in Berlin in April, will provide us with strong statements on the solutions that we know exist,” she added.

The IPCC report revealed that climate-change impacts are already widespread across all continents and oceans, and rapidly worsening.  The report also found that climate change is a growing threat to human security, as it exacerbates food and water vulnerabilities, and indirectly increases the risks of migration and violent conflicts, Greepeace said.

According to Sandeep Chamling Rai, head of the WWF delegation to the meeting, despite the warnings given by the IPCC in its reports over the past 20 years —reinforced by the release of the report on Monday—the gap between the science and what governments are doing remains huge.

“The science is clear and the debate is over. Climate change is happening and humans are the major cause of emissions, driven mainly by our dependence on fossil fuels. This is driving global warming. This report sets out the impacts we already see, the risks we face in the future, and the opportunities to act. It has been accepted by the member-governments of the IPCC. Now it is up to people to hold their governments to account, to get them to act purposefully and immediately,” he said.

Rai added that the risks of collective inaction are greatest for developing countries.

“All countries are vulnerable but developing countries have a greater sensitivity, with more people living in poverty and fewer resources to respond to climate disasters.  We need to put in place those measures that will slow down warming and put us on a fair and just transition to a sustainable world. The report shows that ambitious emissions cuts now can reduce the risk of climate change in the second half of this century,” he said.

Source: Business Mirror | 31 March 2014