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UN report proves need to limit global warming: EU Commission

06 April 2007, 14:41 CET
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UN report proves need to limit global warming: EU Commission

Climate change

(BRUSSELS) - A United Nations report on the potentially devastating effects of global warming provides new backing for the European Union's policy to limit climate change, the EU's executive body said Friday.

EU leaders agreed tough targets last month for reducing emissions of the gases that cause global warming, with the aim of limiting the rise in temperature to below two degrees Celcius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its report Friday that up to 30 percent of animal and plant species will be vulnerable to extinction if global temperatures rise by 1.5-2.5 C (2.7 F to 4.5 F).

"The report shows many of the serious impacts that would occur if global warming exceeded the EU's target of not more than two degrees Celcius above the pre-industrial level," European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said.

"The temperature today is already almost 0.8 degrees Celcius above that level, so the world needs to act fast if we are to succeed in stabilising climate change and thereby prevent its worst impacts," he said in a statement.

The report predicted greenhouse gases would change rainfall patterns, intensify tropical storms, accelerate the melting of Arctic ice and mountain glaciers, and amplify the risk of drought, flooding and water stress.

"Today's IPCC report spells out very clearly the severe effects that climate change will have on all of us," Dimas said.

"This further underlines both how urgent it is to reach global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and how important it is for us all to adapt to the climate change that is already under way," he said.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

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