Washington DC – The fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a senior UN body made up of thousands of scientists – confirms that climate change is happening, that it is caused by human activity, and that the impacts are worse than previously understood.

Despite early press reports suggesting that climate change is happening more slowly than previously thought, this report confirms that, the slight slowing in rising temperatures represents a “few years difference” in terms of the peaking years and does not change the fact that emergency measures should be taken to halt climate pollution.

In the official press conference launching the report, the co-chair noted our current emission pathway is ‘above’ those assessed in the report, suggesting temperature rise above 4.8C (or 8.6F) by the end of the century unless we make substantial and sustained reductions in emissions now.

The report released today in Stockholm, Sweden, focuses on the physical science of climate change and is expected to spark increased pressure on policymakers to take bold steps to curb greenhouse gas pollution and to increase calls for action by climate activists around the world.

“This report is clear: climate change is happening and it’s driven by human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases. We are facing a planetary emergency,” said Daphne Wysham, director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies.

“The report underlines the fact that dirty energy corporations that continue to spew carbon pollution into the atmosphere are threatening staple food crops and fish stocks, acidifying the ocean and endangering coastal populations as seas rise. We must loosen their grip on the political process and hold them accountable,” added Wysham.

The report finds that heatwaves, severe storms, Arctic sea ice melt and ocean acidification are all increasing.

According to Janet Redman, director of the Institute’s Climate Policy Program, “this report is the clearest call we’ve seen to date to transform our global economy from one that relies on fossil fuels into one that promotes decentralized, community-controlled renewable energy, sustainable food systems, and forest protection.”

“We didn’t need scientists to tell us that climate change was real. We’ve seen dramatic weather changes here in the United States with Hurricane Sandy, flooding in Colorado and wildfires raging across Texas. But we hope the IPCC’s report will help skeptics understand that the jury is in and has issued a clear ruling: climate change is underway and we must do all we can to slow it down.”

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Janet Redman, Director, Climate Policy Program, Institute for Policy Studies, (508) 340-0464, janet@ips-dc.org 

Lacy MacAuley, Media Manager, Institute for Policy Studies, (202) 445-4692, lacy@ips-dc.org

The Institute for Policy Studies is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.

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