UN panel climate report says extreme weather changes will happens across Asia by mid century

Asia to see extreme weather changes, says UN panel climate report

12:29 PM, 1st April 2014
UN panel climate report Asian countries under threat

NEW DELHI, US: UN panel released its much awaited report which assessed impacts of climate change on human lives, natural resources and marine ecosystem across the globe. It predicted a gloomy picture for Asia where most of the countries, including India and China, will not only have to face more extreme weather events but also have to experience severe stress on drinking water and food-grains by middle of this century. It more specifically predicted that both India and China will have to see ‘negative impacts on aggregate wheat yields,’ impacting the overall food security in the continent.

The 49-page report - summary for policy-makers - explained in detail how the global warming would affect most of the countries across the globe where poor, who live at the margin of the societies, will have to suffer the most due to pressure on available natural resources. For Asia, this report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - released in Yokohama, Japan - said that the impact would increase “risk of drought-related water and food shortage causing malnutrition.”

It also predicted increased “riverine, coastal, and urban flooding leading to widespread damage to infrastructure, livelihoods, and settlements, in Asia.” This prediction may well see the impacts of sea-level rise on cities like Mumbai and Kolkata in India and Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Some key predictions for Asia include “Increased risk of heat-related mortality, permafrost degradation in Siberia, Central Asia and Tibetan Plateau, shrinking mountain glaciers across most of Asia, changed water availability in many Chinese rivers and increased flow in four rivers due to shrinking glaciers in the Himalayas.”

“Negative impacts on aggregate wheat yields in South Asia (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), negative impacts on aggregate wheat and maize yields in China and increase in water-borne disease in Israel” are some other predictions of the IPCC.

The report said – “the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate.”

It, however, concluded that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks “will be difficult” to manage with high levels of warming.

The report, titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the IPCC, detailed the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks.

A total of 309 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1,729 expert and government reviewers from different countries including India.

The report identified vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems around the world. It found that risk from a changing climate comes from vulnerability (lack of preparedness) and exposure (people or assets in harm’s way) overlapping with hazards (triggering climate events or trends). Each of these three components can be a target for smart actions to decrease risk.

“The report concludes that people, societies, and ecosystems are vulnerable around the world, but with different vulnerability in different places. Climate change often interacts with other stresses to increase risk,” said Chris Field, Co-Chair of Working Group II.

The Working Group I report was released in September 2013, and the Working Group III report will be released in April 2014. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) cycle will conclude with the publication of its Synthesis Report in October 2014.

“The Working Group II report is another important step forward in our understanding of how to reduce and manage the risks of climate change. Along with the reports from Working Group I and Working Group III, it provides a conceptual map of not only the essential features of the climate challenge but the options for solutions,” said R K Pachauri, Chairman, IPCC.

© TimesOfIndia News

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