March 5, 2001 – The huge cuts in pollution needed to combat dangerous global climate change are technologically and economically possible within relatively short time scales, a United Nations report has said today.[1]

Reacting to the report, Roger Higman, Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth International said: “This report is a ray of hope, revealing that it is possible to prevent the terrible climatic consequences from burning coal, oil and gas. Hundreds of workable and cost-effective alternative solutions exist. Now it is time for governments around the world to put them into practice. It is absolutely imperative that the negotiations on a world climate treaty, which are due to resume this summer in Germany, reach a successful outcome. The United States and the handful of other countries that have so far failed to take effective action must accept genuine cuts in their own emissions.”

Key findings in the report include:

  • stopping climate change will bring other social, environmental and economic benefits. As a result, some solutions have net social benefit (point 12)
  • policies to cut emissions have little effect on overall economic growth (point 13)
  • policies to enhance ‘carbon sinks’, eg: by tree planting, cannot solve the problem. Only real cuts in emissions can (point 8).
  • the certainty of achieving emissions cuts and the fairness of policies needs to be considered as well as narrow economic costs and benefits (point 23).

Notes to editors:
[1] The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report: Working Group 3 meeting in Accra, Ghana; Mitigation: Summary for Policy Makers, released 09.00hrs GMT 5 March 2001. Available from