Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Climate Change

While the rain beat down outside last week environmentalists, scientists and economists debated the exact wording for the latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It seemed apt that this meeting was being held in Bangkok. At this time of year we are normally experiencing scorching heat and unbearable humidity. Only a few days before the meeting began Thailand recorded a 48 year high (yes it was roasting) only to be followed the next day by torrential rain that continued day after day. The rainy season definitely seemed to have come early! Remember all this is after the coldest winter on record. Climate Change indeed!

The report concluded that climate change is a reality but that it can be stabilised at a reasonable cost, (a reduction of just 0.12 percent in global economic growth) as long as nations act now -with scientists predicting severe consequences including droughts, floods, storms, heat waves and rising seas if no action were to be taken.

This action includes using renewable energy, fuel efficient transport, improved agricultural land management, afforestation and reforestation. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m sure the same things have been said since I was at school – it doesn’t sound new. Admittedly, they have outlined other technologies that would be available by 2030 (I thought we were meant to be taking action now?) and they do have the ear of governments worldwide. However, the IPCC does not agree policy and as the report states this action plan only works if all countries follow the recommendations. The optimist in me would like to think that some real decisions and a workable plan could be agreed at the G8 summit in June. Hmmm, We’ll see.

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