Dangerous climate change and rhetoric: Where are we headed from now on? / Columns / The Foreigner

Dangerous climate change and rhetoric: Where are we headed from now on?. COMMENTARY: Climate change scientists have again released a big report. This one is on climate change's 'Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability'. The report comes from the UN's IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in which Norwegian researchers are officially involved (6 out of 310 total). Since 1990, the IPCC has published their main reports every 5-6 years. “We can decrease the risk of dangerous climate change by both adapting and reducing emissions”, said the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft upon receiving the report, Monday, “We must do this faster than we’re doing so today.”

climatechange, globalwarming, co2, greenhousegases, norway



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Dangerous climate change and rhetoric: Where are we headed from now on?

Published on Monday, 31st March, 2014 at 12:18 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last Updated on 31st March 2014 at 12:33.

COMMENTARY: Climate change scientists have again released a big report. This one is on climate change's 'Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability'.

IPCC Chair Dr. R.K. Pachauri
Dr Pachauri speaking in New Delhi in February.IPCC Chair Dr. R.K. Pachauri
Photo: Ilan Kelman


The report comes from the UN's IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in which Norwegian researchers are officially involved (6 out of 310 total). Since 1990, the IPCC has published their main reports every 5-6 years.

“We can decrease the risk of dangerous climate change by both adapting and reducing emissions”, said the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft upon receiving the report, Monday, “We must do this faster than we’re doing so today.”

This Fifth Assessment report, tells us that climate change is happening, that humans are causing a significant proportion of it, that the potential impacts are frighteningly huge, that there are ways to deal with climate change and its impacts, and that we are not doing what needs to be done.

Does all this sound exciting? No, of course not.

Because that is similar to what was said in the Fourth Assessment Report in 2007. Since then, intensive effort has involved hundreds of scientists, providing tens of thousands of hours of writing, reviewing, and editing alongside thousands of hours of travelling and meetings at an immense environmental and carbon cost (and carbon offsets do not help).

All to tell us what we know already, plus/minus numerous details and nuances. That takes time and effort away from new, original, innovative science. That creates a self-perpetuating bureaucracy. Discussions swirl around the high level of politicisation of the science.

Congratulations to the scientists for their dedication. Many of the exhausting hours which they contribute are voluntary. The world owes the IPCC a debt of gratitude.

But senescence and repetition do not necessarily represent betterment. Could Norway lead in thanking the IPCC for its needed and impressive service, but in starting a debate regarding if it is now time to move on from it?

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London.



Published on Monday, 31st March, 2014 at 12:18 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last updated on 31st March 2014 at 12:33.

This post has the following tags: climatechange, globalwarming, co2, greenhousegases, norway.





  
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