The report describes the consequences of global warming for the environment and for mankind. One of the dire predictions it makes is that billions of people would be affected by water shortages and hundreds of millions by a reduced ability to produce food.
The IPCC also warns of a dramatic loss of plant and animal species, saying that up to 30 percent of existing species would be threatened by extinction if average temperatures were to rise by between 1.5 and 2.5 degrees centigrade.
"We need to act rapidly and with determination to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limit global warming," Merkel said.
Climate change an issue that concerns us all
"I will be addressing this issue at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm in June," Merkel announced. "My objective is to get as many nations as possible to assume responsibility for climate protection."
Ambitious climate policy needed
Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel underscored the report's confirmation of the need for an ambitious climate protection policy. Gabriel said the report made it clear that: "The more climate change advances the more severe the consequences will be for the environment and mankind. The earlier and the more vigorously efforts are undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the less severe these consequences will be."
Poor particularly hard hit by negative effects
Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said with regard to the IPCC report: "The people who will suffer most from climate change are those who had the least to do with causing it, people in the poorest developing countries. Africa, small island nations in the South Pacific, and heavily populated river deltas in Asia will be particularly hard hit."
Climate research summit in Hamburg
Research Minister Annette Schavan: "Mere awareness that climate change is taking place is not enough. We need to act. With this in mind I have invited high-level representatives of the business community, the academic community, and government to attend a climate research summit in Hamburg on May 3 for the purpose of bringing about an agreement on a national climate research strategy."
Schavan observed that Germany is a global leader in environmental research as well as in the development of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, products, and services. "The aim of the climate research strategy is to expand this lead and to take advantage of opportunities for the research, technology development, and manufacturing sectors arising from the challenges posed by climate change," Schavan said.
The Research Ministry intends to intensify climate-related research activities by providing 255 million euros over the next few years in the framework of an action program entitled "Research on Climate Change".
Climate passport for new vehicles
Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee was quoted in Saturday's edition of the mass-circulation tabloid "Bild" as saying he would like to introduce a climate passport for all new vehicles before the end of this year. "We need more transparency as a basis for making sensible decisions when buying new cars," Tiefensee said.
This document would indicate how much CO2 the vehicles in question emit.
This latest report on climate change is the second part of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. It indicates the consequences of the predicted rise in average global temperatures. The first part of the report, released in February, deals with the causes of global warming.