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UN report sees $1.45 tn global warming cost: media
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 28, 2014


Scientists: Slowdown in warming does not 'invalidate' climate change
London (UPI) Feb 27, 2013 - A confirmed slowdown in global warming "does not invalidate climate change," the national science academies of Britain and the United States say.

In a jointly published guide on the state of climate change science, the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences emphasized the observed slowing of warming did not "invalidate" the long-term trend of rising temperatures and climate change caused by human activity.

"Despite the decadal slowdown in the rise of average surface temperature, a longer-term warming trend is still evident. Each of the last three decades was warmer than any other decade since widespread thermometer measurements were introduced in the 1850s," the academies said in the publication Climate Change Evidence and Causes.

The academies' report says unequivocally the world is warming and temperatures will increase by a further 4.6 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century, The Guardian reported.

Such warming will have significant impacts around the world, the academies said.

"Global warming of just a few degrees will be associated with widespread changes in regional and local temperature and precipitation as well as with increases in some types of extreme weather events," they wrote.

Flood cost in EU may double by 2050: study
Paris (AFP) March 02, 2014 - Floods may cost the European Union 23.5 billion euros ($32.1 billion) annually by 2050, double the 2013 amount, because of climate change and economic development, a study said on Sunday.

Damage from floods averaged 4.9 billion euros a year from 2000 to 2012, before rising to 12 billion euros in 2013, it said.

Two thirds of the expected increase to 2050 is explained by a higher risk to property in flood zones, and one third by changes in rainfall patterns driven by global warming, according to the study.

Floods of the severity of those that hit the planet in 2013 are likely to occur on a statistical average once every 16 years, but this will rise to once every 10 years by 2050, the paper warned.

Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the research brought together several disciplines -- hydrology, economics, mathematics and adaptation to climate change -- for a rounded assessment of Europe's flood risk.

Its estimates are based on water runoff from more than a thousand river basins and data about current and future flood protection schemes.

The climate model used was the so-called SRES 1B simulation, which sees a likely temperature rise of 2.8 degrees Celsius (5.04 degrees Fahrenheit) over the 21st century.

Socio-economic factors taken into account included the expected rise in property values and building expansion into flood-prone zones.

Tackling the problem requires a panoply of measures, and EU members will have to work more closely to prevent disaster and respond to it, the authors warned.

"If the rivers are flooding in central Europe, they are likely to also be flooding in eastern European regions," said Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIAS) in Austria.

"We need to be prepared for larger stress on risk-financing mechanisms, such as the pan-European Solidarity Fund," he said, referring to an EU tool for financing disaster recovery.

The surge in flood costs in 2013 was explained by disruption to wind circulation over the Atlantic that caused a low-pressure weather system to settle over central and eastern Europe, causing extensive, heavy rainfall in nine countries, the experts said.

"Single flood episodes can affect vast areas in a short period of time, irrespective of economic and political boundaries," they said.

Global warming will reduce the world's crop production by up to two percent every decade and wreak $1.45 trillion of economic damage by the end of this century, according to a draft UN report, Japanese media said Friday.

The document is the second volume in a long-awaited trilogy by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a Nobel-winning group of scientists, which is set to be issued next month after a five-day meeting in Japan, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

The trilogy is the IPCC's first great overview of the causes and effects of global warming, and options for dealing with it, since 2007.

According to the draft, if global temperatures rise by 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 Fahrenheit), the world's aggregated gross domestic production will fall by 0.2 to 2 percent, the mass circulation said.

That would translate into 15 trillion yen to 148 trillion yen ($147 billion to $1.45 trillion) in economic losses, calculated against the world's total GDP in 2012, it said.

The planet's crop production will decline by up to two percent every decade as rainfall patterns shift and droughts batter farmland, even as demand for food rises a projected 14 percent, it said.

Other effects from global warming include the loss of land to rising sea levels, forcing hundreds of millions of people to migrate from coastal areas, with the most vulnerable regions including East, South and Southeast Asia, it said.

The draft report, which will be reviewed in the March 25-29 meeting in Yokohama, calls for mitigation measures to reduce the vulnerability of environments to climate change such as flood protection projects and research on the prevention of infectious diseases, it said.

In the first volume of the trilogy, the IPCC said it was more certain than ever that humans were the cause of global warming and predicted temperatures would rise another 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5-8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) this century.

Heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas are among the threats that will intensify through warming, it said in in the report released in September in Stockholm.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said the report was "an alarm-clock moment for the world".

"To steer humanity out of the high danger zone, governments must step up immediate climate action and craft an agreement in 2015" against greenhouse gases, she said at the time.

The IPCC has delivered four previous assessments in its 25-year history.

Each edition has sounded an ever-louder siren to warn that temperatures are rising and the risk to the climate system is accentuating.

The projections for this century are based on computer models of trends in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, especially from coal, oil and gas, which provide the backbone of energy supply today.

A Japanese environment ministry official declined to comment on the report, citing IPCC's request to keep it behind closed doors until the final version is approved in Yokohama.

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