Bali, Indonesia – The past year has seen more weather records smashed as extreme events take a firmer hold of the planet, says WWF at the start of the UN climate change conference.
The overview from the global conservation organization, Breaking Records in 2007 – Climate Change, shows record lows for sea ice cover in the Arctic, some of the worst forest fires ever seen and record floods.
“Events like these show the urgent need to take decisive action on climate change,” says Hans Verolme, Director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme.
“Keeping warming below a 2ºC global average is key to preventing dangerous extreme events such as these which punctuated 2007.”
In the Indonesian capital of Jarkata, torrential rainfall in February 2007 led to one of the worst floods in its history. The flooding displaced 400,000 inhabitants, caused numerous outbreaks of disease and cost the economy US$450 million.
“Indonesia is already suffering from the impacts of global warming,” says Fitrian Ardiansyah of WWF-Indonesia. “The Indonesian government must lead the Bali summit towards a safer future.”
Meanwhile, 2007 saw the continuation of severe droughts in many parts of the world, such as the Amazon, Australia, Africa and parts of China. More often than not, it has led to some of the worst forest fires we have seen, devastating areas in southern and eastern Europe and the western United States.
September 16 marked the lowest area of summer sea ice cover in the Arctic beating the previous record set in 2005, decreasing by an area equivalent to Texas and California combined.
“Rich countries can show they are serious about stopping global warming in its tracks by committing in Bali to emissions reductions of at least 30% by 2020,” said Dr Stephan Singer, Head of WWF’s European Climate Change Programme.
“Time is fast running out. We need to use the Kyoto system to expand global carbon markets and stimulate investments in clean technologies.”
• In 1992, most countries joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to fight global warming and to adapt to the inevitable temperature increases. Fifteen years later Indonesia will host the third Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP3) in conjunction with the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP13) in Bali from 3 to 14 December.
• The Bali conference will be the culmination of a momentous 12 months in the international climate debate. Over the past year, overwhelming scientific evidence of global warming, set out in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), put the reality of human-induced global warming beyond any reasonable doubt.
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Brian Thomson, Media Relations Officer
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