UNFCCC Executive Secretary Stresses the Role of Public Understanding of Climate Change in Reaching Strong Outcome in Copenhagen

31 August 2008: Speaking on the occasion of the twentieth

anniversary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the

opening of its twenty-ninth Plenary session, Roberto Acosta, Coordinator, UN

Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on behalf of Yvo de Boer,

UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underlined the IPCC's role in global climate change

policies and the need for public understanding of climate change to

significantly strengthen international action to tackle this challenge and reach

an ambitious response in Copenhagen at the UN climate change meeting in

December 2009.

Noting that climate change is an “insignificant issue” if one is

hungry, he underlined the link between climate change and poverty or food

security. He noted the awareness efforts carried out by the IPCC and Al Gore

and the expectations created by the Fourth Assessment Report, which he said

played a crucial role in the adoption of the Bali Road Map.

He outlined how

IPCC reports had created the necessary public understanding for strong

political commitments, including with the First report leading to the adoption

of the UNFCCC, the Second to that of the Kyoto Protocol, and the Third to the

introduction of adaptation and mitigation agenda items. Although he welcomed

parties' proposals to strengthen climate action made during the Accra Climate

Change Talks, which took place in Ghana from 21-27 August 2008, he warned that

there is little time left to meet the 2009 deadline considering that

negotiations are “deeply political and much is at stake.”

He asked whether the

momentum created by the Fourth Assessment Report would last until 2009 and

underscored the importance of reaching a strong agreed outcome that matches up

to the science. To this end, he underlined the key role played by global public

understanding in securing political commitment and called for a “scientific

wake-up call” for Copenhagen. [The