International Scientific Congress on Climate Change: Key Messages

Key Findings from the Scientific Congress on Climate ChangeThe International Scientific Congress on Climate Change concluded this week in Copenhagen. Convened to assimilate the latest observations and research in climate change since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their Fourth Assessment Report, the resulting findings and report will help prepare global negotiators meeting this December in Copenhagen for the COP15.

The following excerpted statement was released at the conclusion of the conference –

12 March 2009 Copenhagen, Denmark: Following a successful International Scientific Congress Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions attended by more than 2,500 delegates from nearly 80 countries, preliminary messages from the findings were delivered by the Congress Scientific Writing Team. The conclusions will be published into a full synthesis report June 2009. The conclusions were handed over to the Danish Prime Minister Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen today. The Danish Government will host the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009 and will hand over the conclusions to the decision makers ahead of the Conference.

The six preliminary key messages are:

  • Key Message 1: Climatic Trends
    Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised. For many key parameters, the climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.
  • Key Message 2: Social disruption
    The research community is providing much more information to support discussions on ?dangerous climate change?. Recent observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities particularly at risk. Temperature rises above 2oC will be very difficult for contemporary societies to cope with, and will increase the level of climate disruption through the rest of the century.
  • Key Message 3: Long-Term Strategy
    Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid ?dangerous climate change? regardless of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.
  • Key Message 4 – Equity Dimensions
    Climate change is having, and will have, strongly differential effects on people within and between countries and regions, on this generation and future generations, and on human societies and the natural world. An effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable.
  • Key Message 5: Inaction is Inexcusable
    There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many tools and approaches ? economic, technological, behavioural, management ? to deal effectively with the climate change challenge. But they must be vigorously and widely implemented to achieve the societal transformation required to decarbonise economies. A wide range of benefits will flow from a concerted effort to alter our energy economy now, including sustainable energy job growth, reductions in the health and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of ecosystems and revitalisation of ecosystem services.
  • Key Message 6: Meeting the Challenge
    To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate change challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and seize critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for governments to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability.Previous posts on the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change:

International Scientific Congress on Climate Change: Day 3 – Opportunities in a “Climate Marshall Plan”

International Scientific Congress on Climate Change: Day Two from Copenhagen – New Renewables to Power 40% of Global Electricity Demand by 2050

International Scientific Congress on Climate Change: Day One from Copenhagen

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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  1. There’s some good, strong stuff in there. Let’s hope the politicians will be able to hear it above the white noise of greed that is continually ringing in their ears. I hope so for my daughter’s sake.

  2. To those who have their heads in the sand… and remove them only to declare that global warming doesn’t exist.
    I say first of all being self-righteous about this is a clear sign that you are mistaken.
    ….. ” that virtue cannot separate itself from reality without becoming a principle of evil. ” Albert Camus.

    Actually that quote applies to just about everything coming from the Conservative Right Wing politico

    When those who think they are, absolutely right… that is when they become absolutely dangerous.
    Further more they seem to attack people personally and smear them, attack their credibility… so it isn’t even a normal conversation it is an attack in defense. Defense of what?
    Your need to be right? Your need to be in control? Your abject Fear of the Future? Money? Ego?
    All of the above.

    SO, OK, let us put to those nay-sayers, what if global warming isn’t quite as immediate as we think? It is still THERE. Why do you oppose doing something that can insure the future of our children and grandchildren.
    Act on the side of caution… and secure their future.
    We (all) take this pride on bringing ourselves back from the brink of disaster.
    I think that is nothing to be proud of. If you want to have pride in yourself, then avoid the need to scramble from the brink, that shows intelligence and an advanced race of humankind. This might be the one time… we scramble to late.


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