Leaders, activists alarmed, not surprised by climate report

Aug 9, 2021, 5:29 AM | Updated: 7:43 am

A U.N.-appointed panel of experts said Monday that the Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past the most ambitious threshold set in the Paris accord. That increases the risk of extreme weather and long-term climate-related disasters.

The Paris agreement called for limiting temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — and ideally to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.

Politicians, scientists and activists were swift to react:

“(The report is) a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”

— United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

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“The new IPCC report contains no real surprises. It confirms what we already know from thousands previous studies and reports — that we are in an emergency. … It is up to us to be brave and take decisions based on the scientific evidence provided in these reports. We can still avoid the worst consequences, but not if we continue like today, and not without treating the crisis like a crisis.”

— Greta Thunberg, teenage environmental activist

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“The impacts of the climate crisis, from extreme heat to wildfires to intense rainfall and flooding, will only continue to intensify unless we choose another course for ourselves and generations to come. What the world requires now is real action. All major economies must commit to aggressive climate action during this critical decade.”

— John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate

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“To those who seek to argue that it’s too hard, or too late, and so not worth trying — the report is a reminder that every fraction of a degree of warming really does matter.”

— Former Irish President Mary Robinson, who chairs the independent group known as The Elders, a group of former world leaders who campaign for peace and human rights

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“We know what must be done to limit global warming — consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline.”

— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is under pressure to block plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria

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“Those of us living in Africa have been aware of the urgency of the climate crisis for many years. Lives and livelihoods have been shattered by overwhelming heat, rising seas and extreme weather.”

— Mohamed Adow, who heads the Nairobi-based think tank Power Shift Africa

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“The world must urgently wind down fossil fuel supply in an orderly and transparent way and halt high-risk high-cost oil and gas exploration now. That, or face physical catastrophe, stranded assets costs in the hundreds of billions to our infrastructure and a shock to the world economy a thousand times greater than the COVID pandemic.”

— Mark Campanale of CarbonTracker, which analyzes data on climate change

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“Africa, which has contributed only 3% to global historic emissions, needs big emitters to take responsibility.”

— Vanessa Nakate, a climate activist from Uganda

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“The climate emergency is intensifying each day, and we in the Climate Vulnerable Forum — representing the most climate-vulnerable nations in the world — are on the front line, our nations battered by storms, droughts and rising seas.”

— Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives who now represents a group of 48 countries particularly at risk of global warming

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“The report confirms in an impressive way the connection between man-made climate change and weather extremes. Floods after heavy rains, as we have just experienced, are increasing, as are heat waves and forest fires, which have plagued us in recent years.”

— German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, whose country was last month hit by deadly flooding

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“This report is yet more unimpeachable proof that climate change is happening now, and that global warming is already one of the most harmful drivers of worsening hunger and starvation, migration, poverty and inequality all over the world.”

— Nafkote Dabi, climate policy lead at aid group Oxfam

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Find more AP climate coverage at http://www.apnews.com/Climate

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Leaders, activists alarmed, not surprised by climate report