Monday, April 28, 2014

Latest IPCC report: Climate change poses risks to the well-being of nature and people – but there are ways of mitigating these risks

A press release from the Finnish Environment Institute: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has approved the second part of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, at the IPCC meeting in Yokohama, Japan. The key message of the report is that climate change poses serious risks to the well-being of nature and people all over the world. The observed effects of climate change have an impact on people’s health, land and marine ecosystems, water supplies, and people’s livelihoods, from the polar regions to the tropics and from small islands to continents. Poor countries that lack the means to adapt to these changes will suffer the worst.

...Professor Tim Carter from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) is one of the lead writers of the now published report. He hopes that decision-makers will take the information produced by researchers seriously: “If adequate measures to reduce emissions are not taken, the fear is that some of the changes resulting from climate change will push us over an edge after which development can no longer be reversed. This kind of threshold could be, for example, the irreversible melting of Greenland’s glaciers.”

...In Finland, the effects of climate change may weaken the water quality of water systems, as the ground remains unfrozen for longer periods of time in the autumn and winter. Water protection efforts will have to adapt to increased run-off, erosion, and nutrition loads. This will result in new challenges, particularly in agricultural water protection. The warming o
f Finland’s climate is already evident in Finnish fauna; birds, for example, are migrating earlier in the spring and later in the autumn.

...Countries all over the world have begun to develop climate change adaptation plans and strategies. Finland has been a pioneer in this regard, and Finland’s reformed adaptation strategy is currently being widely circulated for comments. In Europe, the EU’s adaptations strategy has led to adaptation planning being incorporated into, for example, the use and management of coastal areas and water systems and the risk management of natural disasters....

Helsinki at night, shot by Petteri Sulonen, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr,  under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

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