Where to next for Norway's environment and wildlife? Photo: Shutterstock
Norway and its global neighbours must prepare for a dark future after a landmark IPCC Climate Conference in Copenhagen on Sunday revealed the true extent of environmental damage that the world faces.
The future is set to bring more heat waves, droughts and lack of drinking water if the climate emissions continue. That was the message from UN climate experts who have gathered the most recent research on climate change.
The working group also pointed out climate controls don’t need to have a negative effect on economic growth.
Yet the tone of this conference was more ominous than previous, but the message was clear: If we don’t act now, global warming will get “serious, all-pervading and irreversible”, with dire consequences for both humans and nature.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said during the conference: “There is no doubt that the climate changes are created by humankind and that they are becoming larger.”
Key findings of the report include:
- Levels of the three climate gases carbon dioxide (CO₂), methane and nitrous oxide (N₂O) in the atmosphere is the highest in 800,000 years.
- Without new climate measures, the Earth will at the end at this century become 3.7 to 4.8 degrees warmer than in pre-industrial time.
- We have already emitted two thirds of the amount of CO₂ that we can emit.
- The last three consecutive decades have been the warmest since 1850.
- The average temperature on Earth has been rising by 0.85 degrees since 1880.
- Heat waves will most likely become more frequent and last longer, while extreme rainfall will also be more frequent and more intense in many regions.
- The Arctic will be completely free of ocean ice by 2050.
The Norwegian government is now working on the country's climate target. All nations are supposed to have reported to the UN what targets they have set within the first quarter of 2015.
The Climate Report shows the seriousness and the importance of becoming a low emission society, according to Tine Sundtoft, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, .
Sundtoft said to NTB: “We have to plan Norway better. Among other things we have to reduce our transport needs, live closer, and contribute to our industry producing more climate-friendly products from lower consumption of energy.”
Non-proft environmental organization, The Bellona Foundation, believes Norway has to take the biggest responsibility in order to reduce the climate emissions.
Head of Bellona, Frederic Hauge, said: “We'll neither become poor nor jobless in the transition to a low emission society.”
The report is meant as an overview of the global situation, and a 'compass' for world leaders when they gather in Paris next autumn to make out a new climate agreement for 2020 and beyond.
Director of the Norwegian Environment Agency, Elise Hambro, said to NTB: “It [the report] underlines the dramatic situation and will probably contribute to enhance the political effort of all the nations.”
Research leader at CICERO (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research Oslo), Jan S. Fugletvedt, is one of the experts who have worked on the report.
He says: “The scientific basis for climate politics is strengthened even more. The report gives an overview of the possibilities we have to adapt to. It is a solid basis for future choices.”