The Italian Scientific Community calls policy makers, international and national institutions, financial sectors, private sector, the public opinion to take action on climate change. The Scientific Statement on Climate Change undersigned by 12 Scientific Societies and Associations presented at ROME2015 – SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM ON CLIMATE
SCIENTIFIC STATEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is one of the most complex and critical challenges the international community is facing. Its negative consequences are highly relevant for our economies and societies, not only for the environment. It is also an opportunity to modernize economic systems and introduce technological and societal innovations.
The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change, which represents the most comprehensive and updated collection of the scientific knowledge on climate, contains a vast body of data and information that collects shared consensus among the scientific community.
The main outcomes from the scientific community are:
- Human influence on the climate system is unequivocal, and it is extremely likely that human activities are the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century: continued warming increases the risks of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts on the climate system.
- Climate change impacts are already here and are affecting both developed and developing countries; socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally, or otherwise marginalized communities are especially vulnerable to climate change.
- Extreme climate events (e.g., heat waves, sea level rise, heavy precipitation events, severe droughts) increased since about 1950 and some of these have been attributed to human influences.
- Exposure and vulnerability to climate change and extreme events become key components, together with climate-related hazards, for risk assessment and management.
Climate Change has been included by the International community among the Sustainable Development Goals, the set of universally applicable goals that balance the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainable development.
Addressing climate change is therefore one of the objectives defined by the 2030 UN Agenda, that clearly expresses the urgency of reducing global greenhouse gases emissions and addressing adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change.
The choices we make today and in the near future will create different outcomes: climate change related risks for natural and human systems depend on cumulative greenhouse gases emissions, which in turn depend on annual emissions over the next decades. Higher emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to larger warming that will amplify existing risks and create new risks for natural and human systems.
Mitigation and adaptation strategies are necessary to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change, and they should necessarily be part of a decision making process that takes into consideration risk perception and the needs of a territory, balancing benefits and tradeoffs. The involvement of national and local governments, as well as of the private sector, is required in the development and implementation of climate policies.
The undersigned Italian scientific societies and associations call: –
- International and national policymakers to take the lead on climate action and to adopt effective measures to limit greenhouse emissions. Policies should define and achieve mitigation and adaptation responses across the multiple scales needed to effectively address climate change
- Domestic and international institutions to support research efforts on climate science, impacts, and technology, the institutional development of convergent scientific and technology disciplines, and specific training and high education programs on climate science and economics.
- The international community to agree at COP 21 in Paris on effective and equitable GHG emission reduction targets, on mechanisms to measure and verify the progress towards the proposed targets, on the financial resources necessary to support developing countries’ transition to a zero carbon economy
- The private sector to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel resources, to increase energy efficiency of all businesses, to quickly move towards the adoption of low carbon technologies and organization processes.
- The financial sector to enhance the support to investments in renewable energy and integrate the risks of climate change in its investment strategies.
- All citizens to increase the awareness of the risks for our societies deriving from climate change and to increase pressure on policymakers and policy constituencies for a quick and effective action to reduce GHG emissions and to control their implications.