Climate change is here

Climate change is a reality. Observations from all continents of the Earth are providing an increasingly precise picture of dramatic change. Global temperatures have increased by 0.8°C since the beginning of industrialization. Sea levels rose twice as much in the period from 1993 to 2003 as in the three previous decades. Icebergs and glaciers are melting at a record pace; permafrosts that have been stable for centuries are thawing. Extreme weather events such as floods, severe hurricanes, heavy rainfalls and major heat waves have become much more frequent. Climate change is not only a threat to the natural basis of life; it is also a threat to global peace and security. If the glaciers in the Himalayas melt, 40 per cent of Asia's drinking water supply is at risk. As a consequence, there will be increased movements of refugees and armed conflicts over water. Already today, there are more refugees because of global warming than because of war and civil war.

The science is clear - the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is the main cause of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1990, 1995, 2001, 2007) has proven this with an abundance of scientific data and warns us that the speed of global warming has increased - it is advancing even more rapidly than previously assumed. Mankind has only 10 to 15 years to prevent the worst impacts and to respond adequately to this huge challenge. If climate change remains unchecked, the global temperature is predicted to increase by 6°C by 2100 - with disastrous consequences.

Decision-makers are therefore called upon to take serious action immediately. We have a responsibility to the people in our countries and worldwide, as well as to present and future generations to preserve the climate conditions to which life on this planet and human civilization have adapted over millennia. Our duty to act is all the more compelling as the technology to avert climate change - and this is the good news - is already available. The challenge, therefore, is quite simply to create the necessary conditions for the widespread deployment of this technology. Europe and Germany's goal is to limit the global temperature rise to 2°C compared to pre-industrial times, a level at which the consequences of climate change remain just about manageable according to climatologists.

0 0

Post a comment