Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
Met Office, Exeter, UK, 1-3 Feb 2005
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Event sponsored by bt the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
 
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Background

The objective (Article 2) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is stated as follows:

The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

This objective has been little explored in international science studies. The IPCC presented an initial assessment of the scientific knowledge surrounding stabilisation in its Third Assessment Report published in 2001. We believe that it is important to make progress in understanding the ultimate scale and effect of climate, what effects need to be avoided and what this means for actions in the near and medium term. The UK has therefore decided to host an international scientific meeting to take an in-depth look at the scientific issues associated with stabilising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The conference will review the likely impacts of climate change. Such impacts could include abrupt and rapid change, irreversible changes to the climate system and significant sectoral or regional impacts.

The meeting provides an opportunity to take stock of the scientific and technical issues surrounding stabilisation between the IPCC 3rd (2001) and 4th (2007) Assessment Reports, and will also encourage more research on this particular issue.

The meeting will take as read the conclusions of the IPCC 3rd Assessment Report that climate change due to human actions is already happening, and that without actions to reduce emissions climate change will continue, with increasingly adverse effects on the environment and human society.


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