Hours before the Thimphu Climate Summit for A Living Himalayas kicks off tomorrow, top UN scientists yesterday warned that extreme weather conditions in the world will only worsen with time.
The new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in Uganda, is the UN’s first comprehensive review if the impact of global warming on extreme weather conditions and how best to manage them. The IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007.
It says that the perpetual increase in the emission of green house gases will mean more rainfall, floods, drought, cyclones, and landslides as global temperature increases.
The confirmation of the widely known facts also rings an alarm bell with the world climate talks in Durban, South Africa, just about a week away.
It also comes as a reiteration for the four South Asian countries of Bhutan, Nepal, India and Bangladesh participating in the Thimphu Summit to come out with a definite regional cooperation framework in combating climate change.
The IPCC urges countries to come up with disaster management plans to adapt to the growing risk of extreme weather events linked to human-induced climate change which is only worsening. It says the extent of the extreme weather events will depend on the measures taken by mankind to combat climate change.
The Co-chair of IPCC Working Group I involved in preparing the report, Qin Dahe, said, “There is high confidence that both maximum and minimum daily temperatures have increased on a global scale due to the increase of greenhouse gases.”
The other Co-chair of Working Group I, Thomas Stocker, said “For the high emissions scenario, it is likely that the frequency of hot days will increase by a factor of 10 in most regions of the world.” He added, “Likewise, heavy precipitation will occur more often, and the wind speed of tropical cyclones will increase.”
As extreme weather conditions intensify, the report says that the vulnerability of the human population to them is on the rise as well. “Rapid urbanization and the growth of megacities, especially in the developing countries, have led to the emergence of highly vulnerable urban communities, particularly through informal settlements,” the report said also blaming the increasing global population.
The 20-page report released yesterday is a summary of a much more detailed 800-page report that is expected to be released in February 2012. It took three years to prepare the report and was written by about 200 scientists.
The chair of the IPCC, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, said the report underlines the complexity and the diversity of factors that are shaping human vulnerability to extremes – why for some communities and countries these can become disasters whereas for others they can be less severe.”
He added that the report will give insights into how disaster risk management and adaptation may assist vulnerable communities to better cope with a changing climate in a world of inequalities.
The European commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, described the report as “yet another wake-up call.” She added from Brussels, “With all the knowledge and rational arguments in favour of urgent climate action, it is frustrating to see some governments do not show the political will to act.”
This article was published in Business Bhutan on November 19, 2011