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Today on Monday 31 March 2014, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the second installment of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), on impacts and vulnerabilities.

The IPCC report makes clear that people around the world are already suffering from climate change, as it directly affects their livelihoods, reducing crops, destroying homes and raising food prices, and that this will accelerate if climate change is left unchecked.

It provides a detailed assessment of regional aspects, which give a much clearer understanding of climate impacts in different regions. Among other things, the report warns that climate change increases the risk of armed conflict around the world because it worsens poverty and economic shocks. Therefore, climate change is already becoming a determining factor in the national security policies of states.

The repot also explores how the combined expertise from field of climate science can help manage risks related to extreme climate change events. “The report requires and requests that everyone accelerate and scale up efforts towards a low carbon world and manage the risks of climate change in order to spare the planet and its people from the sobering forecasts outlined today by the IPCC.

Fortunately, there is a real, tangible and credible momentum for change happening across the globe and in countries, communities and corporate board rooms,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The report also finds that societies and economies with the best chance to adapt to climate change are on a sustainable development trajectory that combines the best and smartest efforts to build climate resilience and curb emissions. Prime examples of co-benefits of climate action include cost gains from improved energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that immediately reduce health risks from carbon pollution by curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Early, coordinated action among governments at international, national, local and city level, businesses, communities and households everywhere is essential to achieve the best, sustainable results. Build on them and maximise their effectiveness to provide the knowledge necessary for achieving global sustainability. Already, hundreds of cities, communities and companies around the world are taking action and many are planning to do more.

“This shows a clear determination to address climate change and is encouraging. But at the same time, a greater, concerted global effort is needed to rise to the challenge,” the UN’s top climate change official says.

The 2015 global climate change agreement currently under design is a key opportunity at international level to take such action. Governments are working to raise ambition before 2020, when the new agreement is set to enter into force.

In April, the IPCC will release the third installment that outlines options to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The final installment, an overall summary for policy makers, is due in October 2014, shortly before the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. These reports give governments options that help design the architecture and content of the 2015 agreement. The final installment could have an important role in this context.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited political, business and civil society leaders to a summit in New York in September this year, at which key stakeholders can demonstrate their commitment to confront the problem ahead of next year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

According to recent Sweden´s Government foreign policy affairs declaration 2014 by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, presented on Wednesday, 19 February 2014, Swedish Government wants with the EU to continue to pursue an ambitious policy beyond 2020 and with the EU to continue  to take the lead in the ongoing efforts to bring about a new global climate agreement in Paris 2015.

First, climate change impacts are happening now on every continent, posing risks that are increasing in severity. And second, in order to stabilize temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, large-scale changes in the global energy mix are required, changes that must be combined with deep and fast emissions cuts.

The reports are the second and third installments from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, a major collaborative effort by over 1,200 international experts and scientists with approval from 194 governments that outlines the latest scientific findings on climate change since the last assessment report in 2007. According to the IPCC, if the world continues along its current emissions path, temperatures will increase by up to 4.8 C by 2100.

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