Very soon, we won't be able
to adapt to climate change: Pachauri
By Joydeep Gupta
(Poland), Dec 11 (IANS) Very soon, the impacts of climate
change will exceed our capacities to adapt to them, Rajendra
Kumar Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC), has warned.
head of the panel that has done more than anyone else to bring
the effects of climate change - lowered farm output, more
frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and a
rise in sea level - to the forefront of world attention said:
"The impacts of climate change are now so evident. If
we don't take immediate action they will get far worse.
remember, poorest countries and the poorest communities in
these countries are the most vulnerable to these effects."
the Dec 1-12 climate summit here stayed bogged down in bickering
between industrialised and developing countries over who should
do what to combat climate change, Pachauri warned: "Very
soon, climate change impacts will exceed the adaptive capacities
of local communities.
have to have a strategy by which the adaptation has to be
local, while mitigation (to reduce emissions of greenhouse
gases that are warming the earth) has to be global."
good news is that mitigation possibilities are not costly,"
Pachauri added. "There is now plenty of evidence to show
that moving to a low carbon renewable energy development path
is a win-win solution."
also heads the New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute,
which is now distributing all over India lanterns powered
by solar energy.
head of the IPCC - which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007
with Al Gore for its seminal Assessment Report 4 (AR4) - said
that the next assessment report (AR5) would come out in 2014
and in that the IPCC would look at various new risk reduction
strategies as well.
that, we're planning to bring out a special report on renewable
energy sources in 2010 and maybe one on extreme weather events
triggered by climate change as well."
the publication of AR4, one of its principal authors Bill
Hare has said here that science had advanced to the point
where he could predict a strong possibility that the Greenland
ice sheet would melt if the temperature rose 1.5 degrees Celsius
above the pre-Industrial Age level and this would raise the
sea level worldwide by 6-7 metres.
about this, Pachauri said: "Even in AR4, we had not put
an upper limit on sea level rise, because we simply don't
it was pointed out that negotiators were working on the baseline
figure of keeping temperature rise to two degrees Celsius
and that this would mean the death of the Greenland ice sheet,
Pachauri said: "Two degrees Celsius is an arbitrary number
set by the EU (European Union).
deliberately raised that point on the opening plenary session
on this Poznan summit (on Dec 1, when he had talked about
the danger of even a 1.1 degree Celsius temperature rise).
It was a warning that we should get nowhere close to it (a
1.1 degree rise).
IPCC does not prescribe. It provides the scientific information,
the scenarios of what is likely to happen with what level
of certainty if governments do this or that. After that, it
is up to the governments."
Pachauri did say that the IPCC would look at impacts at lower
(than two degree) thresholds in its next assessment report.
asked if he thought the negotiations at this climate change
summit were too slow and the countries too reluctant to change
from a business-as-usual scenario, Pachauri responded: "It
is the only show in town, though it may seem painfully slow
and a waste of time.
science can bring out the urgency of the situation. I am reasonably
satisfied about the reaction we had from all countries in
Bali (at the 2007 summit)."
repeated more than once: "We must keep reinforcing AR4
data, keep reminding people about it. We have to ensure that
people do not lose sight of the science."
what kind of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets countries
should be aiming at, Pachauri said: "The 20-20 target
is very important". That means industrialised countries
reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990
levels by 2020.
how adaptation to climate change could be improved, the IPCC
chief told IANS: "Don't look at (global) averages. Look
at specific impacts in different parts of the world. That
is the way to adapt."
was the IPCC going to do with its share of the Nobel Peace
Prize money? "We're using it to provide fellowships to
scientists in developing countries, those who are working
in the area of climate change," Pachauri said.