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Cut emissions to avert catastrophic sea-level rise - U.N. climate report

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Cut emissions to avert catastrophic sea-level rise - U.N. climate report

Cut emissions to avert catastrophic sea-level rise - U.N. climate report

Scientists behind a landmark study of the links between oceans, glaciers, ice caps and the climate delivered a stark warning to the world on Wednesday: slash emissions or watch cities vanish under rising seas, rivers run dry and marine life collapse.

Emer McCarthy reports.

Slash emissions or watch cities vanish under rising seas, rivers run dry and marine life collapse.

That's the stark warning from scientists behind a new landmark United Nations climate study.

It says that allowing carbon emissions to continue rising would upset the balance of geophysical systems so much that no one would escape untouched.

It comes just days after millions of young people demanded an end to the fossil fuel era at protests around the globe.

Debra Roberts - co chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group - said Wednesday (September 25) that now is the time for radical action.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) IPCC WORKING GROUP 2 CO-CHAIR, DEBRA ROBERTS, SAYING: "This new special IPCC report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address widespread and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere.

It provides the best available scientific knowledge to empower people, communities and governments to tackle the unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, land and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure, as well as industry." Just last weekend activists held a mock 'funeral' for a glacier in the Swiss Alps.

Wednesday's report studied the implications of shrinking glaciers for more than 1.3 billion people living in low-lying or high mountain regions.

It also looked at warming oceans and fast-melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

More than 100 authors analyzed 7,000 academic papers.

They concluded that sea levels could rise by 3.3 ft by the year 2100 -- ten times the rate in the 20th century -- if emissions keep climbing.

It could then exceed five meters by 2300.

Co chair Valerie Masson-Delmotte.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) IPCC WORKING GROUP 1 CO-CHAIR, VALERIE MASSON-DELMOTTE, SAYING: "Permafrost, frozen soil and rock, is thawing with the potential of adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Even if global warming was limited to well below 2 degrees (Celsius), about one-quarter of the near-surface permafrost will thaw by 2100.

If our greenhouse gases emissions continue to increase strongly, around 70 percent near-surface permafrost could be lost." The panel avoided criticizing global policy makers at the talks in Monaco, but called for 'timely, ambitious, coordinated and enduring action'- a call mirrored by Friday's protesters.




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