UN: Climate change effects could be limited if emissions cut to zero by 2100

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The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded a conference on climate change, saying that the phenomenon exists and it is definitely the result of human activity.

The panel said that the effects of the greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere cannot be reversed, but can be mitigated if carbon emissions are reduced to zero by the end of this century.

“Now, as it happens, the window of action is really closing very rapidly, so we have a very short window of opportunity,” said IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri.

“If you look at the total carbon budget to ensure that temperature increase by the end of this century will not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, we’ve already used up a substantial share of this,” he said, in reference to the UN goal of limiting surface temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, as it now stands at 0.85 Celsius.

“So this clearly shows that we have a very a limited window of opportunity and I think the global community must look at these numbers and show the resolve by which we can bring about change,” he said.

The panel’s report will be used as a guide for 200 countries, whose representatives are set to meet in Paris next year to discuss ways to combat climate change.

“If we do nothing then by the end of the century you can see the substantial decrease in [farming] yields that would take place,” Pachauri said. “And with a growing population and higher income, food scarcity and food security and the whole issue of starvation and hunger become very large threats.”