Warning that a failure to come out with a pact to combat global warming at the 12-day meet here will be a “major setback” to the world, noted Indian environmentalist and head of a Nobel-winning UN panel on climate change, R. K. Pachauri, said the international community would have to pay less if it acts swiftly.
Mr. Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which got the Nobel for highlighting that climate change was happening more quickly than believed, also asserted that all evidence pointed to its acceleration, refuting notions accompanying ‘climate gate’.
The ‘climate gate’ scandal had recently hit headlines after hackers gained access to documents of the climate research centre of the UK-based East Anglia University and leaked confidential data, including thousands of e-mails and documents between scientists in Britain and U.S. over the past 10 years which led to accusations that researchers had exaggerated the crisis.
“The world will have to pay less if it acts swiftly to combat climate change”, Mr. Pachauri told reporters here on Saturday.
“If we are able to get a good agreement it would create an enormous amount of confidence in the ability of human society to be able to act on a multilateral basis,” he said as negotiators at the December 7-18 climate meet here struggled to hammer out a pact to deal with global warming.
“If we fail I don’t think everything is lost but it certainly would be a major setback,” he said.
Mr. Pachauri stressed that the poor around the world would be the most-hit by climate change and highlighted the devastating impact that even a 2-degree rise in temperature affected small island States.
“If we take action, the cost of mitigation are really much lower than what anyone had anticipated,” he said.
In the light of ‘climate gate’, the top scientist and his colleagues once again reiterated that the scientific reporting and analysis of the IPCC was above board and all the evidence pointed towards accelerating climate change.
“What is more significant is that there are rich co-benefits in taking mitigation action,” Mr. Pachauri said and noted that the IPCC had identified “key vulnerabilities” in both developed and developing countries.
“Vulnerabilities depend on the exposure that people have, the status of development and their adaptive capacity. The poor in every part of the world are clearly very vulnerable,” he said.
He said that extreme weather events and the distribution on the impacts of vulnerability must be taken into account.
“The U.S. was not part of the multilateral process... they have made a major beginning... they have taken a big step and I am sure that this is not the last step they are taking,” Mr. Pachauri said.