Scientists try to mitigate climate change effects

Scientists studying the changing nature of the Earth’s climate say they have
completed one crucial task — proving beyond a doubt that global warming is real.

Now they have to figure out just what to do about it.

“It is critical for us to get a much better understanding of the impact of climate
change in some parts of the world,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told The Associated Press in an
interview Tuesday.

Scientific warnings of potential catastrophe have been the backdrop for talks
among more than 10,000 delegates and environmentalists negotiating a treaty
to control the emission of greenhouse gases, which have grown by 70 percent
since 1970. The treaty, due to be completed in one year, would replace the
Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Pachauri said he was concerned that negotiators were sparring and probing
— and leaving key decisions for the last moment.

“My concern is that if we leave everything to the end, we might end up with
a weak agreement that doesn’t really address the problem,” he said.
Last year, Pachauri’s IPCC, which collected the work of more than 2,000 scientists,
said climate change is “unequivocal, is already happening, and is caused by human

It listed likely effects of global warming: arid regions will grow dryer, rising seas will
flood coastal areas, melting glaciers will flood communities downstream and then
dry up the source of future water supplies, and up to 30 percent of all plant and
animal species may become extinct.

Since then, new evidence has emerged showing that ice caps in the Arctic and
Antarctic are melting, which threatens to dramatically raise the level of the
oceans and flood coastal cities and low-lying islands.

“Small island states are living in a state of fear,” he said.

But Pachauri said there was no conclusive evidence the world is in imminent

“I don’t think we should jump to conclusions if we get material that is based on
the last one or two years,” the Indian scientist said. The IPCC issues its reports
every five or six years.


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