Bloomberg BNA -- A draft working group report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due Sept. 27 will reinforce the case for urgent action to address global warming, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Sept. 23.
Kim was among several speakers at the opening session of the annual Climate Week NYC event in New York City suggesting that the IPCC draft should put to rest the scientific questions about the role of human activity and present a challenge to action.
Climate skeptics have a problem with science, said Kim, who was trained as a physician. “We have to stop these silly arguments and move forward with what we are going to do.”
The IPCC plans to release a summary for policy makers of the draft Working Group I report the day after the close of a Sept. 23-26 review session in Stockholm, with the release of the full unedited draft slated for Sept. 30. The draft report covers the first of three parts of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report due in October 2014.
A widely circulated version of the draft, which covers the physical science basis of climate change, reviewed a range of evidence on climate change indicators beyond air temperature, such as polar ice melting, ocean warming, and sea level rise (162 DER A-30, 8/21/13).
The draft is expected to conclude “with 95 percent certainty” that the scientific evidence confirms that man-made climate change is a reality, said Mark Kenber, chief executive officer of the Climate Group, an independent nonprofit group that coordinates the Climate Week events for a wide range of philanthropic, government, and corprate sponsors, including Swiss Re, Philips and IKEA.
The IPCC draft report “should shock the political leadership back into the kind of action that is necessary to deal with this” in the time remaining, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair told the meeting. “The case is very clear. The question is, how do we instill a sense of urgency and mobilize for action?”
Blair called President Barack Obama's June announcement of a climate action plan “promising” and said it offers “a chance that the US commitments will be met.” He also credited China for making “ambitious commitments.”
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Todd Stern, U.S. special envoy for climate change, said that international climate talks, remain “poised” between the 2011 Durban Platform and the 2015 due date for a new climate agreement in Paris.
“We must understand what international agreements can and can't do,” he said. “International agreements are no substitute for political will at the national level.”
While acknowledging the key role of the private sector in addressing climate change, he said that governments must set the rules, create the needed conditions, and fund innovation.
Earlier in his talk, he said that the Obama administration's Sept. 20 proposal on new power plant emissions, coupled with rules in the works on existing plants and prior regulatory action on transportation emissions, would address two-thirds of U.S. greenhouse gas sources.
“International agreements send the signal that we mean business,” he said. “The challenge now, frankly, is to finally get it right—to stop talking past each other and pointing fingers.”
He called the discussions since the 2011 climate change meeting in Durban, South Africa, “a useful process” in setting the concepts to work through, and said he saw a “good potential path” from Durban to Paris.
He added that “a durable agreement that starts strong and gets stronger is possible, if we work together in a spirit of mutual commitment.”
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