Rising sea level should be issue of concern at Bali: UN panel chief

Rising sea levels due to global warming and defining what is a dangerous degree of climate change should be among critical issues for debate at next month's climate conference in Bali.

Rising sea level should be issue of concern at Bali: UN panel chief
Rising sea levels due to global warming and defining what is a dangerous degree of climate change should be among critical issues for debate at next month's climate conference in Bali, RK Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations panel on climate change, said Monday.

Pachauri, at a press briefing in New Delhi, said the latest synthesis report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected a very high increase of sea level due to thermal expansion and melting of ice cover caused by global warming.

"How do we prepare the human race to face sea level rise and a world with new geographical features is an issue the governments have to consider," he said. The rising seas would flood low-lying coastal areas, lead to shrinking of fresh water sources and add to the impact of cyclones and hurricanes, he said.

The report by the IPCC - this year's co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize along with former US Vice President Al Gore - says global warming is already having catastrophic effects and the world can allow greenhouse gas emissions at current level only up to 2015.

"After that global emissions have to decline and there is already talk of a 50 percent reduction by 2050," Pachauri said.

Representatives of the world's governments are scheduled to meet at Bali in Indonesia from December 3-14 to set fresh emission cut targets as the Kyoto Protocol currently governing greenhouse gas emissions expires in 2012.

The conference is expected to initiate negotiations on a new protocol and agree to a timeframe for completing them. "Agreement is likely on a roadmap and there will be discussion on policy and features," the IPCC chairman said.

"It (the conference) will also give a momentum to current measures," Pachauri said adding that a certain lack of credibility had crept into the Kyoto Protocol-initiated measures due to inaction. "The credibility has to be re-established."

Developing countries need to know that action is being taken before they respond, he added.

He praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel in showing the way forward to a meeting ground by saying that developed and developing countries should eventually have equal per capita emissions.

Under the Kyoto Protocol it is not mandatory for developing nations to cut emissions while industrialized nations, reponsible for a bulk of the emissions, have set targets to meet.

Pachauri said the IPCC had suggested a range of mitigation measures including lifestyle changes and taxation of carbon-rich fuels to help arrest emissions.

It was now up to governments to launch strategies to cut emissions and realize that it was much cheaper to mitigate than to meet the impact of increaseed greenhouse gas emissions in the long term.

It was also critical for the governments to decide what constituted a dangerous level of climate change as this was a value judgement that would differ country to country, Pachauri said.

But the IPCC chairman was generally optimistic about the outlook at Bali: "There is unprecedented awareness among the public on climate change today and leaders know that their constituencies would not want their countries to be seen as obstructive."

He cited developments in Australia where the prime minister in waiting Kevin Rudd had said his country would sign the protocol as an indication.

Without directly referring to another Kyoto Protocol non- signatory, the US, Pachauri said he had information that some delegates would be more supportive than before of a constructive dialogue.

"It is critically important for all countries to realize we are in it together ... and they have to commit to reduce emissions," the IPCC chairman said.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Kasım 2007, 17:48
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