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Article Released Sun-1st-June-2008 18:12 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Climate policy: Squaring up to reality

The belief that we can find a way to fully avoid all the serious threats of climate change pervades the political arenas of the G8 summit and UN climate meetings. This is false optimism, and it is obscuring reality, says a Commentary in Nature Reports Climate Change this week.

PRESS RELEASE FROM NATURE REPORTS CLIMATE CHANGE
(http://www.nature.com/climate)

This press release is copyright Nature Reports Climate Change.

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Climate policy: Squaring up to reality

The belief that we can find a way to fully avoid all the serious threats of climate change pervades the political arenas of the G8 summit and UN climate meetings. This is false optimism, and it is obscuring reality, says a Commentary in Nature Reports Climate Change this week.

Martin Parry and others use a new rubric designed to inform tough policy decisions on climate change. They show the regional and global impacts that would occur by 2050 and 2100 for various greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Cutting emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050, widely considered to be the most stringent politically achievable target, would commit the world to substantial harm. Compared with 50 per cent cuts, an 80 per cent target would substantially reduce the damage: for example, halving the population put at risk of water stress and flooding.

An 80 per cent cut in global emissions by 2050, stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels at 400–470 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalents, is therefore essential if we are to limit the impacts to acceptable levels by mid-century and beyond.

Even with an 80 per cent cut damages will be large and any impact that occurs below a temperature rise of 1 °C is likely to be unavoidable. Resources for adaptation are therefore crucial, and yet are nowhere near sufficient.

The authors call on world leaders at the UN climate change talks in Bonn in June the G8 summit in July to confront the challenge and implement both stringent emissions cuts and major adaptation efforts.

CONTACT:
Martin Parry (Co-chair of Working Group II, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
Tel: +44 7884 317 108; Email: martin@mlparry.com

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About Nature Reports Climate Change

Nature Reports Climate Change is an online resource from Nature Publishing Group dedicated to in-depth coverage of climate science and its wider implications for policy, society and the economy. The site is freely accessible and covers comment and analysis, news and features, highlights, podcasts and more. Visit Nature Reports Climate Change on www.nature.com/climate

About Nature Publishing Group

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd, dedicated to serving the academic, professional scientific and medical communities. NPG's flagship title, Nature, was first published in 1869. Other publications include Nature research journals, Nature Reviews, Nature Clinical Practice and a range of prestigious academic journals including society-owned publications. NPG also provides news content through news@nature.com and scientific career information through Naturejobs.

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Keywords associated to this article: climate change
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