Despite differing opinions and several reports to the contrary, a recent report issued by the United Nations states that the effect of climate change on the environment is no myth, and may put the planet in peril unless immediate action is taken. The report of 116 pages was issued on Sunday, Nov 2, is the fifth in the last 25 years that the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) has released, and continues in the same vein as one of the earlier reports in 2007. It emphasizes that industrial growth is accelerating the rate of greenhouse emissions, which are also responsible for the increasing deleterious and harmful effects of global warming. According to some climatologists, it provides comprehensive evidence that climate change is real. The report also offers some possible solutions.
Scientists from the University of Reading in the UK, who were involved in authoring the study, found that there is ample scientific evidence to indicate that the problem requires urgent attention and cannot be left to future generations. The evidence clearly indicates that human activity is affecting the planet, and the effects are becoming more widespread and reinforced. IPCC lead author, Dr. Rowan Sutton of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) at Reading, cites that is may be necessary for governments to act now to make the tough but necessary decisions to deal with the situation. The major conclusions of the Synthesis Report, as the study is titled, are based on recently published studies that cover the science involved with climate change and the impact on society, along with suggestions on how the effects can be mitigated.
While there may still be some uncertainties, such as how much global warming will occur, and exactly how and where the changes will be most pronounced, the message, according to the report, is clear that climate change is real and poses a very serious risk. Some of the evidence cited in the report shows that sea levels are expected to continue rising due to the effects of fossil fuel consumption. It is hoped that the study can be used as a catalyst in developing a risk management policy because it includes a variety of options.
There are four categories that are explored, which are stated as being critical to any policy. Paul Higgins, another author of the report, says that climate change is also dynamic, which also contributes to the uncertainties, and that efforts should be directed at mitigating or reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. At the same time, it is also mentioned that society must learn how to adapt to the changes occurring to the climate. Also included in the four factors is the development of a knowledge base to further understand and appreciate climate systems, a need to support the risk management and finally, what is termed “geoengineering,” which can be seen as the manipulation of the ecosystem to carefully counteract the effects from the emission of greenhouse gases.
As claimed by the UN report released Sunday, not only is climate change real and must be immediately addressed, it should be viewed on a global stage. As previously underdeveloped countries race towards industrialization, the problem caused by greenhouse emissions is exacerbated.
By Dale Davidson
Photo by C. Schubert (CCAFS) – License