Wake up! Full report on impacts shows adaptation is vital, mitigation too

September 19, 2007 at 2:39 am | Posted in Adaptation, Climate change, Developing nations, Environment, Impacts, IPCC, Met Office, Mitigation, Parry | Leave a comment

The effects of climate change will be felt sooner than scientists realised and the world must learn to live with the effects, experts said today.

Professor Martin Parry, a climate scientist with the Met Office, said destructive changes in temperature, rainfall and agriculture were now forecast to occur several decades earlier than thought.

He said vulnerable people such as the old and poor would be the worst affected, and that world leaders had not yet accepted their countries would have to adapt to the likely consequences.The professor was speaking in London at a meeting to launch the full report on the impacts of global warming by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report – which had its executive summary released earlier this year – says hundreds of millions of people in developing nations will face natural disasters, water shortages and hunger due to the effects of climate change.

Today Professor Parry, co-chair of the IPCC working group that wrote the report, said: “We are all used to talking about these impacts coming in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren. Now we know that it’s us.”

He said the international response to the problem had failed to grasp that serious consequences such as reduced crop yields and coastal flooding were now inevitable. “Mitigation has got all the attention but we cannot mitigate out of this problem. We now have a choice between a future with a damaged world or a severely damaged world.”

Read more in yesterday’s Grim outlook for poor countries in climate report.

We need to hammer home the message that climate change is not about ‘either/or choices’. It is about ‘also/too collaborations’.

Adaptation and mitigation and an appreciation of the natural world (including where humans fit within ecosystems) are necessary if we are to stand any chance of a less-than-miserable future for our families. Some people will specialise in adaptation. Others in mitigation. Others still in understanding, protecting and living with nature. But not only specialists in specific fields are necessary—people who can see the big picture, cross boundaries in interdisciplinary ways to help combine the parts into a concerted whole are more valuable than ever.

Here’s a 47-second video of Professor Martin Parry making the point, once again (“inel spotted this on the Guardian Unlimited site and thought you should see it”):

To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited site, go to

World must ‘adapt to climate change’
Professor Martin Parry, of the Met Office, says that even if governments take action against global warming now, it will take decades to take effect

Press Association
Tuesday September 18 2007
Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2007

Planning for global warming Aviva

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Now playing: Melissa Etheridge – I Need to Wake Up (From “An Inconvenient Truth”)
via FoxyTunes

followed by: Westminster Abbey Choir – Up! Awake! From Highest Mountain
via FoxyTunes

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