Climate change: science confirms danger, now governments must act

Fifty years will be more than sufficient to witness the worst impacts of climate change in our living environment, our oceans, our livelihoods: this is a key conclusion of a major scientific report released today from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC).

The IPPC report is the first of a series of reports which compile the state of scientific knowledge on climate change, its impacts and means to prevent it.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, said the fight against climate change must become a generational fight if we are to protect next generations from poverty, inequality and pollution arising from it.

“Can we imagine all those catastrophes – many of them already being felt by working families around the world – happening without touching our jobs or our lives? Today’s report shows with greater clarity and certainty than ever before that climate change is real, caused by human activity and requires urgent action,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.

According to the IPCC, sea levels are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, sea ice is declining and oceans are acidifying – all with grave consequences for our communities, environments and economies.

“We are facing a bitter crisis of unemployment. Governments ignore at their peril the development of strong sustainable economies underpinned with climate policies. The ITUC Global Poll 2013 found 88 percent of people support public investment in clean energy and environment-related industries to create jobs. Only a job-intensive, climate-sound strategy can bring our societies to a sustainable path,” said Sharan Burrow.

The IPCC release strengthens trade union commitments to push for a fair and ambitious global deal to cut emissions and avoid the worst scenarios scientists predict.

“There are solutions available for governments. Green and decent job promotion in climate-friendly sectors, and building a Just Transition for sectors in hardship can demonstrate that we don’t have to choose between people and the planet,” said Sharan Burrow.

Read the joint statement by seven NGOs on the outcome of the IPCC Report.

Read Anabella Rosemberg’s blog post on Equal Times about the IPCC Report.