Key Statements from the Copenhagen Summit

By March 14, 2009 February 28th, 2013 What we can do

1. Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realized…

2. The research community is providing much more information to support discussions on "dangerous climate change". Recent observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities particularly at risk…

3. Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid ?dangerous climate change? regardless of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.

4. Climate change is having, and will have, strongly differential effects on people within and between countries and regions, on this generation and future generations, and on human societies and the natural world…

5. There is no excuse for inaction…

6. To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate change challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and seize critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for governments to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability.


March 13, 2009 Statement from the Copenhagen Climate Summit

"The climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts."

Quotes from the summit (Guardian)

Kevin Anderson, research director at the UK Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, said: "The scientists have lost patience with our carefully constructed messages being lost in the political noise. And we are now prepared to stand up and say enough is enough."

Peter Cox, a climate expert at Exeter University, said: "People have been saying this individually for a long time. This is just a much louder and concerted shout from our community."

Rob Bailey, senior climate adviser for Oxfam said: "The verdict of the world’s top scientists is clear. The big question now is whether the worlds richest countries, who created the climate crisis, will act before it’s too late. Our climate is changing fast and if left unchecked its impacts, particularly on the world’s poorest people, will be devastating."