Act now on climate change – UN report

2012-03-28 15:24

A future on Earth of more extreme weather and rising seas will require better planning for natural disasters to save lives and limit deepening economic losses, the United Nations said today in a major report on the effects of climate change.

The UN climate panel said all nations will be vulnerable to the expected increase in heat waves, more intense rains and floods and a probable rise in the intensity of droughts.

Aimed largely at policymakers, the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it clear that nations need to act now, because increasingly extreme weather is already a trend.

The need for action has become more acute as a growing human population puts more people and more assets in the path of disaster, raising economic risk, the report said.

The report’s title made the point: “Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation”.

Asia was most vulnerable to potential disasters, with East Asia and the Pacific facing the highest adaptation costs.

The 594-page report, with authors from 62 countries, is the world body’s most up-to-date assessment of climate change risks.

Its general message is that enough is known about these risks for policymakers to start making decisions about how to deal with them.

It follows the release of the report’s executive summary in November after an extensive review by scientists and government officials and is based on the work of thousands of scientific studies.

“Few countries appear to have adopted a comprehensive approach – for example, by addressing projected changes in exposure, vulnerability, and extremes,” the report said.

Building this into national development planning is crucial.

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