UNFCCC Executive Secretary Stresses the Role of Public Understanding of Climate Change in Reaching Strong Outcome in Copenhagen
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31 August 2008: Speaking on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the opening of its twenty-ninth Plenary session, Roberto Acosta, Coordinator, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on behalf of Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underlined the IPCC’s role in global climate change policies […]

31 August 2008: Speaking on the occasion of the twentieth
anniversary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the
opening of its twenty-ninth Plenary session, Roberto Acosta, Coordinator, UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on behalf of Yvo de Boer,
UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underlined the IPCC’s role in global climate change
policies and the need for public understanding of climate change to
significantly strengthen international action to tackle this challenge and reach
an ambitious response in Copenhagen at the UN climate change meeting in
December 2009.

Noting that climate change is an “insignificant issue” if one is
hungry, he underlined the link between climate change and poverty or food
security. He noted the awareness efforts carried out by the IPCC and Al Gore
and the expectations created by the Fourth Assessment Report, which he said
played a crucial role in the adoption of the Bali Road Map.
He outlined how
IPCC reports had created the necessary public understanding for strong
political commitments, including with the First report leading to the adoption
of the UNFCCC, the Second to that of the Kyoto Protocol, and the Third to the
introduction of adaptation and mitigation agenda items. Although he welcomed
parties’ proposals to strengthen climate action made during the Accra Climate
Change Talks, which took place in Ghana from 21-27 August 2008, he warned that
there is little time left to meet the 2009 deadline considering that
negotiations are “deeply political and much is at stake.”
He asked whether the
momentum created by the Fourth Assessment Report would last until 2009 and
underscored the importance of reaching a strong agreed outcome that matches up
to the science. To this end, he underlined the key role played by global public
understanding in securing political commitment and called for a “scientific
wake-up call” for Copenhagen. [The
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