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'Five Minutes to Midnight' as Climate Change Endgame Threatens

Irreversible sea level rise, mass species extinction just around the corner unless immediate action is taken, warns UN

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri at 2012 COP18 conference (Screenshot / Responding to Climate Change)The world is running out of time—and fast—to take action on climate change UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri warned this week, stating, "We have five minutes before midnight."

The warning comes as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is chaired by Pachauri, is set to release its Fifth Assessment climate change report on September 27.

Preceding IPCC reports have been grim, as is expected of the Fifth Assessment. A recently leaked draft of the report showed the scientists are now more convinced than ever that climate change is the result of human activity. According to scientific consensus represented in the report, the impact of climate change could include a sea level rise of nearly three feet by the end of the century, extreme species extinction, higher intensity of droughts, heatwaves and floods, and vast food shortages across the world.

"We may utilize the gifts of nature just as we choose, but in our books the debits are always equal to the credits," Pachauri told a conference organization Green Cross International in on Monday, quoting Mahatma Gandhi.

"May I submit that humanity has completely ignored, disregarded and been totally indifferent to the debits?" he added.

"Today we have the knowledge to be able to map out the debits and to understand what we have done to the condition of this planet," said Pachauri who urged those who would listen to take action immediately before the five minute window closes.

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