Combating Impact of Climate Change Depends on Global Policymakers

Statement Of Timothy E. Wirth, President, United Nations Foundation On The Release Of The IPCC Working Group Ii Report

April 6, 2007


Megan Rabbitt

“Each new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reinforces the scale of the problem and the urgency of action. Global leaders and policymakers should take heed as the world’s scientists assert that the impacts of climate change may be broader and more profound than previously thought.

“The economic analysis has shifted as rapidly as the science has come in: The focus on the cost of action to combat the urgency of the climate challenge has been replaced by the understanding of the unacceptable and growing cost of inaction.

“The IPCC Working Group II report clearly demonstrates that the world’s poorest countries will suffer the brunt of these impacts. Areas of Asia and Africa could be crippled by both drought and flood, which will severely restrict already difficult access to safe, clean water. Ecosystem changes already underway could poison oceans and wreck coral reefs and fish species, with serious economic impacts for local communities dependent upon on marine resources.

“Some developed countries are already preparing to adapt to coming environmental shocks—for example, by developing desalination plants and flood barriers—but the international community must act now to help all countries address the impacts of climate change.

“The United Nations, via the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility, is working to bring together resources that will help. There is an enormous opportunity to mobilize critical technology and resources to help all societies prepare for, adapt to and mitigate changes to our world.

“Our political leaders must embrace this opportunity and accept these challenges if we’re to see lasting change in all countries. The timeframe for action is narrow and there is much to be done.”


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