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Source: France-Diplomatie – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development

France applauds the publication of the IPCC’s special report “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” (SROCC) on 25 September 2019.

The fruit of an international collaboration between almost 180 scientists from over 87 countries, Northern and Southern alike, and based on the latest knowledge, this new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes the interactions already observed and yet to come between global warming and changes in seas, poles and glaciers, as well as the risks that these changes are incurring for human populations and ecosystems.
 

France and IPCC

For more than 30 years now, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been assessing the state of knowledge on climate change, its causes and its impacts. It also identifies possible ways of limiting the scale of global warming and the seriousness of its impacts, and of adapting to expected changes.
France’s support of the IPCC was recently given concrete expression by the Republic’s hosting of its 47th Plenary Session in Paris in March 2018, an event that marked the IPCC’s 30th birthday, along with the announcement of an increase in France’s financial contribution to the IPCC’s budget, bringing it up to 1 million euros a year.

The IPCC’s findings are indisputable: global warming is accelerating and the oceans and cryosphere (glaciers, ice caps, etc.) are being disrupted by climate change, with impacts on coral reefs, low-lying coasts and islands, mountain ecosystems, permafrost and glaciers.

The sea level is rising at an ever increasing rate and the oceans’ growing absorption of CO2 has led to their accelerated acidification, which, combined with the warming and deoxygenation of their waters, is causing significant damage to the ocean system and marine biodiversity, with major effects on fishing among other things. Impacts are therefore felt well beyond immediately affected environments and are contributing to global warming to an alarming extent.

The increasingly marked rate at which Arctic ice and snow are melting is weakening natural abilities to reflect solar rays (albedo) – abilities that are major regulators of temperature.

The ocean and cryosphere are essential components of the global climate system, and in-depth knowledge on them is of key importance in enabling us to take action to reduce our impact and adapt to the changes we have to address.

This deterioration of ecosystems multiplies the risks weighing on human populations, with consequent deterioration of fisheries, damage to infrastructures, problems with fresh water supplies, and impacts on human health and food security as well as on development of trade and tourism.

However, the report demonstrates that reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has become a matter of urgency in order to limit the intensification of such changes in the future and the extreme events they bring with them. There is a wide range of solutions that could be deployed to improve resilience and preserve the ocean’s and cryosphere’s vital functions. Protection and restoration of ecosystems along with nature-based solutions should be the founding principles of the action we take if it is to be truly sustainable. Above all, it seems clear enough that any action we take today to reduce emissions will decrease the intensity of the impacts described and the risks weighing on our communities.

The IPCC’s conclusions confirm the policy implemented by the Government, which is acting to limit greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the now inevitable impacts. They are also encouraging it to continue with initiatives already undertaken in close collaboration with stakeholders in coastal areas.
 

  • The Energy Climate Bill asserts France’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and institutes a five-year Programming Act that will set action priorities and point the way forward.
     
  • Through the second National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PNACC), the Government is implementing the actions required to protect the population and adapt all sectors of the economy to future climate conditions, while improving their resilience.
     
  • The Government is funding research work in order to improve knowledge on the evolution of risks in coastal and mountain areas alike. Better knowledge of phenomena is essential to successful anticipation.
     
  • As regards coastlines, the Government has been taking action for several years now, by improving knowledge on coastal dynamics, and fostering implementation of local projects and recourse to nature-based solutions.
     
  • As developing countries are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change, France has made climate action a priority of its aid to development. The French Agency for Development (AFD) is “100% aligned with the Paris Agreement”: the projects it implements must support resilient, low-carbon development processes.

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