Culminating several years of research, a new document has been published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With conclusions linking extreme weather to climate change, the final version's release coincided with the COP 17 United Nations Climate Change Conference that launched on Monday, November 28 in Durban, South Africa.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri – Chair, UN IPCC; vegetarian (M): Just a few days ago, we brought out a special report, which essentially deals with extreme events and disasters. And we’ve come up with a number of very profound findings. One of them was that a change in climate does lead to extreme weather and increasing severity and frequency of climate events.
VOICE: The comprehensive analysis providedin the “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” not only confirms adverse global warming effects observed by fellow scientists in recent years, it goes on to state that decisive mitigation is necessary to avoid significant worsening of conditions. For example, in forecasting emission scenarios based on human actions to halt climate change, the one resulting from the least intervention would increase hot days by a factor of 10 in most regions of the globe.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (M): If we don’t do anything, then by the end of this century, those heat waves which have been taking place once in 20 years will now take place once in 2 years. And I don’t want to remind you of what happened in 2003. When there was a severe heat wave in Europe, over 40,000 lives were lost.
VOICE: Citing the impacts of both past and current disaster events, the report also notes that the cost to both human lives and livelihoods have become steeper. Southern Europe, western Africa and even the United States have been facing longer and worsening droughts, with the US experiencing one of the worst years ever in 2011 in terms of weather calamities, including massive wildfires in Texas following prolonged drought, as well as harsh October snowstorms on the East Coast.
Meanwhile, Asia has seen unprecedented flooding in places like northern Thailand, claiming some 600 lives, as Pakistan’s Sindh province was inundated once again as residents were still recovering from floods in 2010 that had left 6 million people homeless.
With 95% of fatalities resulting from such disasters being in developing countries, the IPCC is calling for increased adaptive measures, while emphasizing the necessity of reducing of greenhouse gases to avert further catastrophes.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (M): I think the world has to realize the urgency of action, because if we delay action, then clearly we are incurring a much higher cost. Globally, we have to mitigate the emissions of greenhouse gases, because adaptation alone will not be adequate, and we will not have the capacity to be able to handle all these impacts in the future.
VOICE: Our appreciation, Dr. Pachauri, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and all scientists involved, for these further insights and forecasts on the increasingly severe effects of climate change. May leaders act now and adopt planet-cooling measures to ensure the safety of all lives on Earth.
During a January 2009 videoconference in Mongolia, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke about the best way to rapidly mitigate climate change and its dangerous impacts.
Sources: NY Times, UPI, Scotsman, IPCC