28 March 2009
In what was described as a watershed moment, more than 2500 leading environmental experts who gathered in Copenhagen in March for an international Scientific Congress on Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions agreed on a statement that called on governments to act before the planet becomes an unrecognisable — and, in places, impossible — place to live.
Scientists present at the emergency summit agreed that "worst case" scenarios were already becoming reality and that, unless drastic action was taken soon, "dangerous climate change" was imminent.
In a strongly worded message that, unusually for academics, appealed directly to politicians, they said there was "no excuse for inaction" and that weak and ineffective governments must stand up to big business and "vested interests". Steps should be "vigorously and widely implemented", they said, to reduce greenhouse gases. Failure to do so would result in "significant risk" of "irreversible climatic shifts", the statement, added.
The Copenhagen conference is intended to publicise the latest research on climate change ahead of December's meeting of world leaders. The United Nations Climate Conference, which will also be held in Copenhagen, aims to draft an updated Kyoto-style agreement on reducing emissions.