Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adaptation needed for warming

Jakarta Globe (Indonesia): The same year that “An Inconvenient Truth” helped catapult climate change to the center of the global agenda in 2007, climate change took to another global stage here in Indonesia with the 13th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali. In spite of the choice of Indonesia, a developing country, to host the preeminent conference on climate change, the debate since then has emphasized reducing greenhouse gas emissions among developed countries, as opposed to how developing nations can deal with the inevitable consequences of global warming.

“This has become a weakness in tackling climate change,” said environmental expert Jatna Supriatna. “The developed countries only talk about how to prevent or mitigate emissions so they can comply with existing standards.” Jatna, of Conservation International Indonesia, speaking at a workshop on dealing with climate change at the University of Indonesia, said on Wednesday that adaptation — rather than prevention — was needed to cope with extreme weather and an increased incidence of mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria as a consequence of warming.

“Climate change continues to occur and cannot be stopped,” he said. “But if there are more natural disasters, are our people ready?” He said developing an adaptation program was the responsibility of both the government and the broader society.

…Hannah Campbell of Conservation International said there had not been enough talk about the changes and adaptations human populations needed to make to deal with a warming planet. “There is also a growing understanding [among developed countries] that they need to mitigate, but they also need to adapt,” she said. “For instance, they need to consider the fact that they might not have fresh water.”

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