Climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible effects on people and ecosystems - but mankind can mitigate these effects, the IPCC Synthesis Report has found.
Released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it examines the findings of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report that was produced by over 800 scientists and released over the past 13 months.
It found options were available to adapt to climate change and that specific activities could help keep the effects within a manageable range.
IPCC chair RK Pachauri said: “We have the means to limit climate change. The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”
The report confirmed that climate change was being felt around the world and that warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I.
The report expresses with greater certainty than in previous assessments that emissions of greenhouse gases and other drivers have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century.
“It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Youba Sokona, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III. “But what is lacking are appropriate policies and institutions. The longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost.”
The IPCC is the world body for assessing the science related to climate change.