In a lecture, Rajendra Pachauri said sustainable development was the way forward

If extreme climatic events occurred, the worst afflicted would be some of the poorest societies on earth.

This was the crux of a lecture delivered by Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman, Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and head of The Energy and Resources Institute.

Mr. Pachauri who was in the city on Wednesday, was given the ‘For the Sake of Honour’ award by the Rotary Club of Madras East

“They don’t have the capacity, the means or infrastructure by which their lives and their property can be protected,” Mr. Pachauri said, speaking about these societies.

Referring to human-induced climate changes and a detailed assessment by the IPCC of extreme events and disasters, he pointed to three factors which are of deep concern — the increase in the intensity and frequency of heat waves, rise in precipitation events and the rise in the sea level.

“Extreme precipitation events are on the increase, so that means that a good part of the snowfall and the rain that we receive will occur as very heavy falls,” he said, adding that it posed a threat not just to life and property but also gave rise to problems, including creating infrastructure to deal with this kind of frequent occurrence.

Talking about the heat waves, Mr. Pachauri, said that heat waves which take place currently once in 20 years, will by the end of the century, occur once in two years if nothing is done about it immediately.

Urging that sustainable development was the only way forward, he advocated the efficient use of energy and tapping renewable sources of energy such as solar power.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former governor of West Bengal and chairman, Kalakshetra Foundation, said that we must break out of our collective denial. Referring to the effects of climate change in the Sunderbans, he said that the wetlands were dipping into the river Ganga all the time, like a biscuit in coffee.

“We imagine that issues of survival are not understood by ‘simple folk’, but that is far from the truth,” he said.

K. Umamaheshwari, president of the club Rotarian Balaraman read the citation and M. Srinivasa Rao, club secretary also participated in the programme.

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