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Environment Switzerland urges more support for UN climate change panel

The Aletsch Glacier

View over the Aletsch Glacier - the largest in the Alps - in September 2017.  By 2090, the surface of the glacier could shrivel from 118 square kilometres (2010) to 35km2, warns the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU)

(Keystone)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main United Nations scientific body for assessing climate change, is a key organisation that needs greater support, a Swiss official told a celebration in Geneva on Thursday to mark the body’s 30th anniversary. 

“We make full use of the work of the IPCC in our climate policy,” said Paola Ceresetti, spokeswoman for the Swiss Mission to the UN in Geneva, speaking on behalf of ambassador Valentin Zellweger. 

The IPCCexternal link was established by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide a scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential impacts. It has provided five comprehensive assessment reports and other special reports since its creation. 

On Thursday, alphorn players welcomed attendees to the Swiss-organised celebration in Geneva, home to the IPCC, alongside representatives from the Geneva authorities, governments, the WMO, which hosts the IPCC secretariat, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

In her speech, Ceresetti urged states to increase support to climate research to “fill the data gaps”, adding that the IPCC “produces very valuable reports at a very low cost”. 

IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee thanked Switzerland for its support. The Alpine nation gives CHF 100,000 a year to the organisation. 

Paris accord 

The Paris climate agreement, adopted by almost 200 nations in 2015, set a goal of limiting warming to “well below” a rise of 2°C above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for the tougher 1.5°C goal. 

However, a draft of an upcoming IPCC special report on global warming, obtained by Reuters, warns: “If emissions continue at their present rate, human-induced warming will exceed 1.5°C by around 2040.” 

The IPCC text, dated June 4, is due for publication in October after revisions and approval by governments and will form the main scientific guide for states for combating climate change. 

To contribute towards the international goal of limiting global warming to 2°C, Switzerland intends to reduce its domestic greenhouse gasses by at least 20% in comparison to their 1990 level by 2020, among other measures. 

ATS-SDA/sb

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