Sunday, March 30, 2014

I am waiting for the IPCC's 5th Report with both hope and skepticism!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) fifth report on impacts of climate change will be released today.  While we are eagerly waiting for the report to come, I thought of posting the following two links in my ‘today’s pick’ section for an understanding of some aspects of it. 

This report from the Guardian titled ‘IPCC report: climate change felt 'on all continents and across the oceans' reports that leaked text of the blockbuster report says changes in climate have already caused impacts on natural and human systems.

It also reports that the IPCC report would say, "In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans."  Some parts of the world could soon be at a tipping point. For others, that tipping point has already arrived. "Both warm water coral reef and Arctic ecosystems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts," the approved version of the report will say.

Titled ‘Climate change and health: IPCC reports emerging risks, emerging consensus’, this report highlights the health risks of climate change as have been reported by three contributors to the health chapter.
This chapter, they say, discusses three impact categories in particular:

-          under-nutrition and impaired child development due to reduced food yields
-          injuries, hospitalisations and deaths due to intense heat waves, fires and other weather disasters and
-          shifts in the seasonal duration and spatial range of infectious diseases.

But, as the link rightly points out, very vital point that misses from the discussion is the threat climate change poses to Earth’s life-support system – from declines in regional food yields, freshwater shortage, damage to settlements from extreme weather events and loss of habitable, especially coastal, land. The list goes on: changes in infectious disease patterns and the mental health consequences of trauma, loss, displacement and resource conflict.

We have to wait for the report to come.  My apprehensions are that the report would once again talk about several impacts of climate change but cannot go beyond the conventional approaches of narrowing down them into spheres which are comfortable for the abusive rich countries to handle and get away with their responsibilities. 

Let’s wait and watch!

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda

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