The Climate Change Task Force (CCTF)—made up of 30 climate scientists, other experts and world leaders—warned today that sidelining climate change at the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development threatened progress on the conference’s other goals, which includes combating poverty and building economies that value nature.
“I am very concerned and worried because the draft final document of the Rio+20 conference does not give proper attention to climate change,” says former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev in a press statement. “It looks like there is backsliding on this issue and that is what worries me so much because without addressing climate change, all of the other problems and tasks that will be set by the final document [of the Rio+20 conference] will not be accomplished and will become meaningless.”
The CCTF has released a 33 page report entitled Action to Face the Urgent Realities of Climate Change, which argues that the world must urgently make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to the inevitable effects of global warming.
“The impacts of climate change are intensifying across the world: unprecedented temperatures, glacier melt, changing rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, storms, fires and widening desertification are degrading the fragile ecosystems of the planet. They are devastating the lives and livelihoods of millions of people today and undermining prospects for progress, stability and peace in the future,” the report reads.
The CCTF further argues that governments need to move beyond their pledge to keep temperatures from warming above 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), since the world is already seeing large-scale impacts from a temperature rise of only 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Celsius).
Even as nations have pledged to keep temperature from rising above the 2 degree threshold, the report also notes that current actions means the world is headed toward a climatic disaster, a prediction supported by many climate scientists and the International Energy Agency (IEA).