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International Panel says Urgent Action Needed to Mitigate Climate Change

FILE - Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chairman of the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, listens during a briefing at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen.
FILE - Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chairman of the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, listens during a briefing at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

A leading climate scientist warns failure to act on reducing threats from climate change will have disastrous global consequences. He said the science on climate change is solid and inaction is no solution.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due to release the final installment of its 5th Assessment Report in a few weeks. The previous report lays out the risks of climate change and stresses the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere through adaptation and mitigation.

IPCC chairman, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri said Thursday the upcoming report will focus on the urgency of implementation.

He said climate change will create conditions for greater conflict as people fight over water scarcity or food shortages from less productive farmland. Pachauri says massive problems will result from sea level rise and the risks for human health will increase. He said the prospects of climate change on marine life are not good.

“On the other side, I think we have a lot more detail on actions that can be taken. Adaptation, of course, but on the mitigation side, I think we have some very clear pathways by which we might be able to manage the problem. So, to that extent, I would say that the 5th assessment report in general and certainly the synthesis report, would be a document that gives you some practical insights into what should be done,” stated Pachauri.

Pachauri said no part of the world will be untouched by the impacts of climate change. Therefore, everyone has a stake in doing what needs to be done to ward off the worst. He said time is of the essence and action cannot be delayed.

He disagreed with those who say the development of renewable energy, as substitutes for fossil fuel will cripple the world economy.

He tolds VOA the economic impact would amount to very little. Pachauri said the cost of the mitigation of greenhouse gases in 2030 would be less than two percent of the total global consumption.

“That amounts to about .06% of the global GDP per year. Now, clearly, that is not a high price to pay, particularly since this would eliminate some of the worst impacts of climate change. And, what is more, you would also be able to realize a whole range of co-benefits,” he said.

The co-benefits, he said, would include much higher levels of energy security, lower levels of air pollution, some relief for eco-systems, higher levels of agricultural production and, possibly greater employment.

Pachauri noted the U.S. state of California, which has been implementing energy efficient policies during the past few years, has had higher growth than the rest of the country and is benefiting from declining energy consumption.

The 5th Assessment report, which will be launched November 2, will be the last one of the IPCC reports before a global deal on climate change is to be signed by countries next year at a Paris Conference.