Let me just say a few words about the urgency of addressing climate change.
Last year, in preparation for the chairmanship of the G-8, the United Kingdom government organized a conference on dangerous climate change. The reference to “dangerous” is from article 2 of the framework convention, what some refer to as the ultimate objective--that is, to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system. One of the conclusions of that conference was that we are experiencing some impacts at a faster rate than was anticipated. We can see it in some ecosystems, but perhaps the clearest evidence comes from the acceleration of coastal glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland. In part, this is because we don't fully understand glacier physics, but it does underline that surprises are possible, and some of these surprises may take us past the point where the changes are reversible.
The longer we delay in taking action, the greater becomes the risk to ecosystems, to humans, to our societies and economies. In addition, the costs are likely to be greater. One reason for this is that the longer we delay action, the higher will be the concentrations from which we will have to make the reductions. Some scientists are now arguing that we may have as little as a decade to get on the right track to reduce our emissions and avoid dangerous climate change.
I do not wish to be an alarmist, but I do believe it is a scientist's duty to warn.
Thank you, sir.