climate change

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climate change

THE BIG PICTURE

CLIMATE CHANGE PREDICTIONS

The following have been predicted by climate scientists with more than 90 per cent

confidence:

higher maximum temperatures: more hot days and heat waves over nearly all land areas

higher minimum temperatures: fewer cold days, frost days and cold waves over

most land areas

intense precipitation events: increased floods, landslides, avalanches and mudslide

damage, with more soil erosion and flood run-off

Source: IPCC 3rd Assessment, Report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

targeting emissions

Governments across the world are thus taking action. The first step in

addressing climate change as a global issue came in 1988 when the

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established to help

governments across the world investigate and understand the science,

issues and impacts of this phenomenon. Then, in 1992, the signing of the UN

Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place. This

international treaty formally recognised the concern over climate change, and

established non-legally binding targets to return developed world greenhouse

gas emissions to 1990 levels.

Today, the UNFCCC remains the framework for international agreement and

discussions on this subject. It meets through periodic Conferences of Parties

(COPs). With the IPCC noting for the first time a ‘discernible human influence’

affecting climate change – and with most industrialised countries failing to deliver

on their voluntary reduction agreements – the Kyoto Protocol was adopted

under the UNFCCC in 1997.

The Protocol, which came into force in February 2005, contains legally binding

targets for each country in the developed world to reduce greenhouse gas

emissions by 2008-12 to 1990 levels. The European Union’s target, which is

shared among its 15 original (pre-2004) member countries, is for an eight per

cent reduction on 1990 levels. The UK’s target is a 12.5 per cent reduction (see

box on the following page).

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