Wednesday, October 15, 2008

'Pacific must adapt, mitigate to deal with climate change'

Saipan Tribune (Samoa): The Pacific region needs to reduce the risk of greenhouse gas emissions as well as learn to adapt to the effects of climate change, a leading expert on the topic said yesterday, the day before an international forum on the subject is to take place here.

Both tasks must go hand-in-hand to achieve the desired outcome, said Espen Ronneberg, Climate Change Adviser for the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. SPREP is a regional organization based in Apia that is charged with protecting and managing the region's environment and natural resources.

…Climate change is impacting the Pacific in several ways, including an increase in extreme events; changes in rainfall; increased coastal erosion; and coral bleaching, Ronneberg said.

He said there are four paths Pacific Islands can choose to pursue as they tackle climate change: they can not do anything at all; they can focus on mitigating or reducing the risk of greenhouse gas emissions; they can focus on adapting to the effects of climate change; or they can use a combination to adapt and mitigate.

Adaptation techniques might include “climate proofing” areas, building seawalls or improving building codes to allow for better infrastructure to withstand climate change. Adaptation at the national level is ideal, but that does not always happen, Ronneberg said, so it must fall to the community level. “It's the community that will have to live with whatever solution is proposed,” he said. “They're be there to see if it works.”…

View of Upolu, Independent Samoa, shot by Kronocide, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License

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