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Science panel’s report for UN outlines plan for cutting risks from climate change

Science panel’s report for UN outlines plan for cutting risks from climate change

Climate change
Improved transportation systems, tighter building codes and financing for energy-efficiency investments are among the measures recommended in a new scientific report on coping with climate change that was prepared at the request of the United Nations.

The UN Foundation and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, presented the report “Confronting Climate Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable and Managing the Unavoidable” to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has called climate change one of his priority concerns.

The report notes that the technology exists to “seize significant opportunities around the globe” to reduce emissions and provide other economic, environmental and social benefits.

It calls on policy makers to improve efficiency in the area of transportation through measures such as vehicle efficiency standards, fuel taxes, and registration fees or rebates that favour purchase of efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.

They should also improve design and efficiency of commercial and residential buildings through building codes, standards for equipment and appliances, incentives for property developers and landlords to build and manage properties efficiently, and financing for energy-efficiency investments, the report states.

It also recommends expanding the use of biofuels through energy portfolio standards and incentives to growers and consumers.

The report outlines a role for the international community, through the UN and related multilateral institutions, including helping countries in need to finance and deploy energy efficient and new energy technologies while accelerating negotiations to develop a new international framework for addressing climate change and sustainable development.

The report is “an attempt to define the beginnings of a course through the scientific impact, what we know about the impact of climate change and what we will know about possible measures of what we will do,” UN Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth told a press briefing in New York.

He called the report “a very handy basis for how the climate issue is handled.”

Prepared as input for the upcoming meeting of the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development, the report warns of “two starkly different futures” facing humanity: one marked by increasingly serious climate-related impacts and the other aiming to “reduce dangerous emissions, create economic opportunity, help to reduce global poverty, reduce degradation and carbon emissions from ecosystems, and contribute to sustainability.”

“Humanity must act collectively and urgently to change course through leadership at all levels of society,” it warns. “There is no more time for delay.”