Climate changes occurring at more rapid rates than suggested before
ISLAMABAD, October 16, 2010: Scientists are reporting alarming new evidence that the earth is warming faster than previous studies have projected. Studies expanding on the 2007 findings of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now suggest most of the Arctic ice could melt away in 30 years. While there is wide international recognition that greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced, climate experts say greater attention must be devoted to creating strategies to adapt to a rapidly warming planet. Adaptation programmes launched by the UN in 2008 have set in motion various approaches to reduce the destructive impact of climatic shifts already under way.
Millions of people are already experiencing the impact of climate change, as extreme weather conditions trigger more frequent floods, droughts, forest fires and catastrophic storms. Some small island-nations and coastal regions confronted with the prospect of losing land to rising sea levels have begun contemplating ways to relocate their citizens. Farmers in regions prone to drought and typhoons are adjusting planting schedules to adjust to changing rainfall patterns and shortened growing seasons. Countries hardest hit by typhoons and hurricanes are making substantial investments to improve warning systems, disaster education and evacuation plans to try to minimise the impact of extreme weather events on their lives and livelihoods.
Recent studies suggest climate-related changes are occurring at more rapid rates than previously suggested. Scientists now say global warming is likely to bypass a 2-degree Celsius rise above pre-industrial levels that has been regarded as the maximum level to avoid dangerously high sea levels, floods and heat waves. Temperatures are already up 0.7 Celsius.
Since the landmark IPCC report in 2007 established scientific consensus that climate change is driven by greenhouse gases linked to human activities, there has been consistent evidence that weather patterns are indeed changing and resulting in more floods, droughts and higher temperatures. Adaptation strategies to lessen the impact of climate change will be more critical than ever to save lives and bolster our resilience to natural disasters and other environmental changes caused by global warming.