IPCC conference kicks off in Colombo

Mar 6 (InfoLanka) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened the three-day International Expert Conference on "Climate Change and Sustainable Development" at the Trans Asia Hotel, Colombo yesterday evening and will go on till the 7th, of this month.

The IPCC has warned that, if steps are not taken to address the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG's), the global temperature could increase by 3C, and the sea level would rise by about 50 cm by 2010. Such climate variations can lead to increased frequency and intensity of events such as storms and hurricanes.

"Forest, deserts, wetlands and other unmanaged eco systems will face climatic stress. In response to these warnings the Climate Change Convention was signed in 1992, recognising the need for a responsible technical body to advice the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on potential climate change effects. The IPCC was established by the World Metereological Organisation (WMO) and the United Natioans Enviornmental Programme (UNEP)," a news release by the IPCC stated.

The IPCC comprises of over 2000 experts from around the world, and provides scientific, technical and socio-economic advice to the world community, and in particular to the parties to the UNFCCC through its periodic assessment reports on the state of knowledge of causes and climate change, its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts and options mitigation and adaptation for addressing it. The release adds that, it has become very apparent that poorer countries will suffer more from the impacts of extreme weather events. For example, human casualties have been extremely high in developing countries as a result of a severe weather phenomenon (such as typhoons) while the impacts of storms of similar intensity in developed countries have been considerably less. It is therefore clear that developing countries like Sri Lanka will be highly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Climate change will significantly diminish prospects of sustainable development from the economic, ecological and social viewpoint. The IPCC decided to hold an expert consultation with the view to better integrating the key linkages between climate change and development (including poverty and equity issues) within the structure of our upcoming fourth assesmnet report. Several countries inclduing sri Lnaka offered to host this expert consultation, the IPCC bureau agreed to hold the meeting in Colombo. The consultation will seek to determine the key climate change/sustainable development linkages in detail and will eventually submit them to the IPCC plenary. The findings of the expert consultation will be of tremendous significance to Sri Lanka as the PCC scientists will also be focusing on the impact of climate change on island countries like ours, and advising us on how to cope with climate change.