WASHINGTON - March 11 - The World Resources Institute (WRI) today expressed disappointment that despite a decade since the ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the problem is becoming worse and there has been a collective failure to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming.
"We have not made significant progress in curbing global warming in the last decade. In fact, the latest scientific reports indicate that global warming is worsening," said Dr. Jonathan Pershing, director of WRI's Climate, Energy and Pollution Program. "We are quickly moving to the point where the damage will be irreversible. Unless we act now, the world will be locked in to temperatures that would cause irreparable harm. To stabilize the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming, we must ultimately bring net emissions of these gases to near zero."
Leaders from 154 countries signed the UNFCCC with great fanfare during the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil. It was finally ratified March 21, 1994 and today, 188 countries are signatories. An implementing treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, is in limbo as Russia remains undecided whether it will ratify it or not. The Bush Administration has refused to sign it.
Data from WRI's Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) indicate greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, rose 11 percent over the last decade, and are expected to grow another 50 percent by 2020. Studies indicate that the hottest years this century occurred since 1990, the date from which the UNFCCC measures countries' efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The United Kingdom's top scientist, Sir David King, has publicly warned that the most severe problem facing the world today is climate change. A recent report commissioned by the US Defense Department concluded that abrupt climate change from global warming could trigger war among states for food, water and energy, posing new threats to U.S. national security. A study released in January in Nature magazine suggested that up to 37 percent of all species in several biologically diverse regions could be driven extinct from the climate change that is likely to occur between now and 2050.
Dr. David Jhirad, WRI's vice-president for research and an international energy expert, believes that unprecedented technology innovation, policy leadership and private capital investment will be needed to solve this problem. "Accelerated development of a portfolio of technologies could stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, enhance global energy security, and eradicate energy poverty. We urgently need the political will and international cooperation to make this happen," he said.
Dr. Jhirad and Dr. Pershing agree that the world no longer has the luxury of time in achieving stability and security for the global climate system.
The World Resources Institute ( http://www.wri.org/wri ) is an environmental research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people's lives.