The Fifth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released today re-emphasizes the conclusions expressed in previous IPCC Reports. What is new is a focus on risk. The Fifth Report sets out the impacts of climate change in considerable detail, with a careful statement of the probability of their occurrence.
Popular opinion may regard risk consequent on climate change differently from country to country. People in Northern Temperate Climate Countries may think that global warming can’t be all that bad. Particularly when they have come through a long, cold winter in which the snowfall compares with winters they experienced as children, oh so long ago – even before the term “climate change” had worked its way into a publicly consciousness. (Does that sound like Canada?)
At a press conference on the publication of the Fifth Report, the IPCC chairman, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri said: “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change”.
Climate change already affects countries to a greater or lesser degree, but the experience of most countries is minimal compared to what the future has in store. The unfortunate fact is that although the affects of climate change could be minimized, the world has done little to reduce CO2 emissions or to prepare for future changes. This indifference increases the risk of serious impact.
Still there is hope that the countries of the world will take positive steps to mitigate climate change. We must act now, and not burden our grandchildren – and their grandchildren – with the very difficult, if not impossible task, of rescuing civilization. As the slogan says: “We didn’t inherit the earth from our grandparents – we borrow it from our children”.
If we don’t take steps now, the results will be catastrophic. And there will be no geo-engineering equivalent to the ark to save civilization from our irresponsible conduct.
Follow this link for the Final Draft Report
For a video of the IPCC Press Conference when the report click here.
For a summary for Policy Makers