UN Task Force Works on Climate Change Mitigation

Lisa Schlein

Members of a U.N. high-level task force on climate change reports good progress is being made in developing a system of climate information that will help vulnerable communities mitigate and adapt to Climate Change.  The 14-member task force, established by the World Meteorological Organization, has just wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva.

The World Meteorological Organization says countries can adapt to climate change if they have information that can alert them to extreme weather events, such as drought and floods.  

Co-Chairman of the High Level Task Force, Jan Egeland, says great advances have been made in weather predictions.  He says weekly and seasonal climate predictions are being made with a fair degree of certainty.  And, he adds, indications of decade-long forecasting is on the horizon.

"Will there be more or less water?  Will there be higher temperature or less?  Is there going to be good news or bad news for farmers in a particular region?  Should a dam be built or not?" asked Egeland.

Egeland says that kind of information can allow farmers, cattle herders and others dependent upon the weather for their livelihoods to plan ahead.  

The High Level Task Force is working on a so-called blueprint for setting up a global system of climate information.  This will be coordinated with regional systems.  

The information gleaned from this world weather and climate system would be provided to national centers for their benefit.  

Egeland says the global network of scientists that comprise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will, in many ways, provide this information through their satellites and observation points.  

"What is the cost of it?  Well, it is impossible to say at the moment," said Egeland.  "However, I think we will be able to prove it is the world's best investment ever in the sense that for relatively small monies, you can get observation points all over Africa.  And, that would increase our ability to predict what will happen vastly."  

The task force expects to complete its report by next January and to present it at the World Meteorological Congress in May 2011.

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