A damning international report on mankind's role in climate
change should be a wake-up call for urgent action, New
Zealand environmentalists say.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's draft
fifth assessment report, released last night, found it was
"extremely likely" that humans were responsible for more than
half the rise in global temperatures in the last six decades.
The landmark report, the IPCC's strongest warning yet, said
if the world could not cap carbon emissions to one trillion
tonnes, a budget already half spent, then global warming
could not be held to within 2C.
The report said the world's climate would have warmed by at
least that much by the end of the century, causing widespread
extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels around the
The 2000-page report, which had some 250 lead authors and
drew on thousands of peer-reviewed articles, updates the
IPCC's 2007 report, which stirred controversy after critics
found some errors.
The likely impacts of climate change on New Zealand could
include rising sea levels, increases in the severity and
frequency of coastal storms, and more floods, landslides and
Conservation group WWF New Zealand said the report was "a
wake-up call for all of us" and confirmed the urgent need for
action on climate change.
"It is the most detailed analysis of climate science to date
and shows that we need to take action now if we are to avoid
the worst impacts," WWF campaigns head Peter Hardstaff said.
New Zealand had renewable natural resources and should be
investing in them instead of fossil fuels, he said.
Mr Hardstaff said the risk of ignoring the science was huge.
"The longer we delay action the more expensive addressing
climate change will become. The good news is that we have
most of the solutions within our grasp but what is most
needed is the political will to help implement them."
Green Party climate change spokesman Kennedy Graham said the
report was the IPCC's strongest warning yet.
"The IPCC has delivered a stark message - the climate is
changing and we need to immediately reduce our greenhouse gas
emissions dramatically to prevent runaway warming."
Dr Graham said the Government had buried its head in the sand
on climate change.
"There is no excuse for inaction. The climate change threat
is real and immediate, and we have the tools to reduce our
emissions. It's time to stop prevaricating and get on with
the job for the sake of our environment and our economy."