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21 September 2010

Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change: An International Perspective

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The world will need to make substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions below current levels over the next few decades if the worst impacts of dangerous climate change are to be avoided.
This was a key conclusion from UK and US climate scientists at an international workshop on the UK AVOID program in Washington, DC exploring the most policy-relevant aspects of understanding dangerous climate change.

Latest results from AVOID have shown that strong mitigation action to limit temperature rise to below 2 degrees C avoids many of the climate impacts, but not all of them. Examples show that 50% of the impact of water scarcity, and almost 40% of the impact of decreasing crop suitability can be avoided through early action on greenhouse gas emissions.

Time is short and delaying action reduces the chance of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C and increases the chance of significant impacts.

The AVOID program is a unique inter-disciplinary research collaboration across the physical sciences, climate impacts and the technical and socio-economic implications of climate change.

AVOID is targeted to provide policy-focused research and evidence needed to allow policymakers to develop mitigation and adaptation policy that is strongly grounded in scientific evidence. This workshop, the first international meeting of AVOID, was designed to discuss, engage and partner with US scientists.

Jason Lowe, Head of Mitigation Advice at the Met Office, United Kingdom, and Chief Scientist for the AVOID program, said "This workshop has provided the opportunity to compare approaches in the UK and US to identify the results that are the most robust. The aim now is to work together to find concrete ways of taking forward the best UK and US science for the benefit of policymakers.

"Such work is essential to inform government policies both in the UK and the US with robust and up-to-date evidence."


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