Warming 'one of world's greatest challenges'

18 Jun, 2014 04:55 AM
Sea levels are rising, and ice is melting faster than we expected

THE leaders of China and the UK have declared the threat of global warming to be "one of the greatest challenges facing the world", and have called on all nations to reveal their action plans well ahead of a major climate summit set for Paris in late 2015.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his visiting Chinese counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang, the leaders said climate change was already happening, "much of it as a result of human activity".

"The odds of extreme weather events, which threaten lives and property, have increased," the statement said, citing the recent reports by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "Sea levels are rising, and ice is melting faster than we expected."

In a nod to the severe pollution frequently enveloping many Chinese cities, the statement added: "In addition, the burning of fossil fuels creates serious air pollution, affecting quality of life for millions. Both sides recognise that climate change and air pollution share many of the same root causes, as well as many of the same solutions."

The comments are likely to be seen as further proof China, the world's largest emitter of the greenhouse gases blamed for warming the planet, will place a cap on emissions.

The country is particularly exposed to shifting climate patterns with much of its agriculture reliant on the regularity of seasonal snowmelt. In recent days, Chinese newspapers have carried reports that the area of frozen earth on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has shrunk 16 per cent in the past 30 years because of global warming.

China and Britain's "urgent call to action" also follows the release earlier this month of the most ambitious climate action in US history by President Barack Obama. Some 1600 fossil-fuel burning power plants will have to cut emissions 30 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

The US move was announced days before Prime Minister Tony Abbott's visit to Washington. Mr Abbott, who has previously derided climate science, said he would not support moves to curb emissions that would "clobber the economy".

Australia has a target of cutting its 2000-level emissions 5 per cent by 2020, and the Abbott government has said it won't review the target until at least 2015.

The country, though, may come under increasing international pressure - including at the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane in November - to raise the bar if momentum builds for stiffer climate measures ahead of the Paris summit set for December 2015.

"Both sides underline the importance for all countries to communicate their nationally determined contributions well in advance" of the Paris meeting, Premier Li and Prime Minister Cameron said in their joint statement.

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18/06/2014 7:21:08 AM

Well, who do you believe? The overwhelming scientific majority? Leaders in UK, US and China? Or a few god fearing, back country hicks?
18/06/2014 7:57:13 AM

It sounds like Australia has a chance to inject some sense into such proceedings. Obviously, "nationally determined contributions" to such hysteria and arrogance is not something that should be tolerated automatically.
Bushie Bill
18/06/2014 9:35:23 AM

So what is our brain-dead government, the anti-intellect anti-science morons doing? They are lining up for a pat on the head from the likes of those wonderful examples of humanity as Rupert Murdoch and Gina Reinhardt. That is what they are doing. Isn't it inspiring and uplifting? Are we not made to feel "special" by the human qualities of our leaders?
john from tamworth
18/06/2014 1:33:38 PM

NO warming for 17 years.The discredited IPCC models wrong time and time again.Record ice coverage in Antartica and the most subdued hurricane seasons for decades.The man made global warming hypothesis has fallen flat on it's face and has failed the test of scientific theory.It cannot predict the natural world and should be discarded before another hundred billion is wasted.
18/06/2014 4:33:19 PM

Who is Gina Reinhardt?
Bushie Bill
18/06/2014 5:20:18 PM

jft, I'll put my money on the scientists, not the ill-educated intelligence-challenged rednecks who have great difficulty writing their own names, thank you.
19/06/2014 3:22:48 AM

JFT, Where do you get that nonsense that there has been no warming in 17 years, etc. Nothing you claimed could be further from the scientific truth. Don't bother waving some cherry-picked factoids at us. Find some peer reviewed science with real evidence of your claims. The global warming deniers web sites seem to lack understandng of even the basic science, and if there has been no warming for 17 years, why are large slabs of Antarctic glaciers falling into the sea and the Arctic Sea ice reducing to record levels, and massive melting of the Greenland ice mass starting? Get some real science.
Frank Blunt
19/06/2014 4:29:30 AM

Well who do you believe ? The tens of thousands of real scientists around the world who are not brainwashed and sold out to the AGW hysteria ? Or a few indoctrinated nut jobs that are making it up as they go along.
19/06/2014 5:40:44 AM

JFT has made the most telling of all the comments on this issue so far. That is, Government and other global warming crooks have wasted billions of the poor people wages and taxes on a giant con that has does absolutely nothing about climate change. Thank goodness we now have a Government that is committed to stopping that waste.
Iron Post
19/06/2014 5:44:56 AM

What are they doing Bushie ? They are doing what they were voted in by the Australian public to do , and that is to bring back some common sense into Govt and to repeal the loony laws that the cranks in the last Govt forced upon us. The people have voted.
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