Avoiding Catastrophe Report released

IPCC ignoring key climate change data\\

Janaury 29, 2007

Friends of the Earth Australia released a new report today that examines recent climate science and warns of catastrophic climate change unless more dramatic steps are taken to reduce emissions.

The report, Avoiding Catastrophe: Recent Science and New Data on global warming, also concludes that previous proposals for emission reductions have seriously underestimated the scope and danger of the climate problem.

Prepared by the Carbon Equity Project, the report surveys climate data released by scientists in the last year which paints a far starker picture of the threat of climate change than that due to be released by the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week.

The IPCC has been widely criticised, including by scientists on the IPCC panels, for failing to include crucial recent data, including the prospect of dramatic disintegration of the polar ice sheets and the consequent sea level rises in their assessment.

Examining the probabilities of catastrophic changes to the climate, the report concludes that annual greenhouse gas reductions of 4-5% a year must begin by the end of the decade if we are to have a reasonable chance of preventing disaster.

“This report is frightening. It looks at the latest scientific data released this year that shows many key climate changing events are happening more rapidly or sooner than expected. The earth’s capacity to absorb carbon is decreasing and feedback mechanisms are accelerating. It means we have to do more sooner to cut emissions” said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Australia.

“Even current proposals for significantly reducing emissions, such as those in the Stern Report, may not be enough to prevent catastrophe. We can’t let the planet warm any further or we face a very real chance of runaway climate change” said David Spratt, author of the report.

“The IPCC report due to be released this week does not include much of the recent science reviewed in this report. It also downplays the risk as it represents a consensus of all scientists, many whom are influenced by their governments” David Spratt continued.

“The debate over the existence and cause of climate change is over. The danger is that we now fail to recognise how much danger we are in and how little time we have. A plan for reducing emissions that does not match the science is of no help, in fact it is flirting with catastrophe”, concluded Cam Walker.

Friends of the Earth Australia intends to commission a further report examining a plan for a carbon budget and energy rationing that would offer pathways to the major reductions this report calls for.

The report Avoiding Catastrophe: is available from www.carbonequity.info or www.foe.org.au

-- For more information and comment:

Cam Walker: 0419 338 047 David Spratt: 0417 070 099