Cost of fighting warming 'modest,' says UN panel

By Karl Ritter

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, April 13 2014 11:34 a.m. MDT

In the end the charts were taken out of the summary, but would remain in the underlying report, which was to be published later in the week, officials said.

Counting all emissions since the industrial revolution in the 18th century, the U.S. is the top carbon polluter. China's current emissions are greater than those of the U.S. and rising quickly. China's historical emissions are expected to overtake those of the U.S. in the next decade.

The IPCC summary also refrained from detailed discussions on what level of financial transfers are needed to help developing countries shift to cleaner energy and adapt to climate change.

Another IPCC report, released last month, warned that flooding, droughts and other climate impacts could have devastating effects on economies, agriculture and human health, particularly in developing countries.

"The world's poorest nations are in need of economic development. But they need to be helped to leapfrog dirty energy and develop in a way which won't entrench their poverty by making climate change worse," said Mohamed Adow of charity group Christian Aid.

The IPCC reports provide the scientific basis for U.N. climate negotiations. Governments are supposed to adopt a new climate agreement next year that would rein in emissions after 2020.

The ambition of that process is to keep warming below 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) compared to today's levels. Global temperatures have already gone up 0.8 Celsuis (1.4 Fahrenheit) since the start of record-keeping in the 19th century.

The IPCC, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007, said the U.N. goal is still possible but would require emissions cuts of 40 percent to 70 percent by 2050 and possibly the large-scale deployment of new technologies to suck CO2 out of the air and bury it deep underground.

"The IPCC is telling us in no uncertain terms that we are running out of time — but not out of solutions — if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based environmental group. "That requires decisive actions to curb carbon pollution — and an all-out race to embrace renewable sources of energy. History is calling."

Karl Ritter can be reached at

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