Copenhagen Congress’ Update to IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Published

18 June 2009: A report synthesizing the newest research results on climate change, based on discussions and presentations made at the scientific congress “Climate change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions” held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in March 2009, was presented to the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, Belgium.

The report updates the findings of the 2007 Fourth Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was published in preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in December in Copenhagen.

Professor John Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a member of the writing team, underlined that the need for action is bigger than the political negotiations have taken into account. He warned that “even with only one to two degrees warming there is evidence pointing towards the very real possibility of triggering tipping points caused by human-made climate change.” He explained that these tipping points would lead to societal disruption and include: the melting of the Greenland ice sheet; the abrupt change to the Asian Monsoon to a substantially drier state; the loss of water storage capacity in the Himalayan glaciers; or increases in ocean acidification.

The 36-page report is written for non-specialists and presents an extended and more detailed version of the six key messages emerging from the scientific congress, which attracted over 2000 scientists from 70 countries. The synthesis report was put together by a writing team of 12 scientists from all continents and was reviewed by the Scientific Steering Committee, scientists from the International Alliance of Research Universities, the session Chairs at the congress, and the Earth System Science Partnership. [Press Release][Synthesis Report]