Distressed responses to climate report: from code red to acute emergency

Internationally, troubled responses to the new report by the IPCC, the UN International Climate Panel. That was presented this morning. The report warns that only drastic and large-scale measures make it possible to raise the average temperature on Earth at most 1.5 degrees.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres concludes, based on the report, that the fossil fuel industry is dead. An important explanation for warming is greenhouse gas emissions released from fossil fuels, and according to Guterres, the extraction of coal, oil and gas should end. The report amounts to a warning of the code red caliber, according to the UN chief.

Not too late

Commissioner Timmermans, who is responsible for the European Commissions climate policy, speaks of the urgent need to intervene. โ€œIts not too late to turn the tide, but only if we act vigorously and jointly now.โ€

Former President of the Maldives Nasheed, representing 48 poorer countries, puts responsibility to the wealthy West. โ€œWe pay with our lives for the carbon dioxide that others have emitted. We will take swift action to reverse this unacceptable injustice.โ€

In November, there will be a new climate summit in Glasgow, described as โ€œcrucialโ€ by British Prime Minister Johnson. He calls the IPCC report a wake-up call and says he hopes that countries are already taking more radical action before the climate summit.

Much more high water

The report further explains that the rise in sea level due to global warming is irreversible. Lead author of the sea level rise section is the Dutch scientist Aimรฉe Slangen of the Royal Netherlands Institute for the Research of the Sea (NIOZ).

It indicates that the figures in this edition do not differ substantially from the previous IPCC report from 2013, but the findings are much more accurate. โ€œFor example, we can now make concrete what the expected contribution of Antarctic melting is to different greenhouse gas scenarios, while this was not yet possible in the previous report.โ€

How much sea level rises varies greatly by region: for example, the melting of Antarctica is relevant for Northern Europe, because the effect of gravity results in additional sea level rise in the part of the world where the Netherlands is located. NIOZ expects that there will be much more frequent water in the Netherlands every two to ten years.

Island states fear future

Antigua and Barbudas climate ambassador Diann Black-Layne, negotiating on behalf of small island states, fears for the future: โ€œThe grim fact is that if warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, sea level still rises half a meter.โ€

It also points to the responsibility of the fossil fuel industry for warming up. She points out that sea level can rise from 2 degrees to 3 meters at a warming of 2 degrees. The future of the small island states depends on that, Black-Layne said


Climate activist Greta Thunberg also points out that the report does not contain any hard news. โ€œIt confirms what we already knew from thousands of previous studies and reports โ€” that we are in an acute emergency. It is a solid (albeit cautious) summary of the available knowledge,โ€ she writes on Twitter.

Greenpeace Action Group sees in the report an incentive for the new government to set more ambitious climate targets. Milieudefensie believes that the Netherlands can do much more to combat climate change because it is โ€œa global player in oil, coal, bio-industry, capital and much moreโ€. But climate policy here only focuses on emissions domestically, the environmental club believes.