Scientists meet in Japan after grim climate forecast

Agence France-Presse

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The report is part of a massive overview by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is likely to shape policies and climate talks in the future

CLIMATE CHANGE. This file photo taken Feb 14 2013 shows shows smokes rising from stacks of a thermal power station in Sofia, Bulgaria. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

YOKOHAMA, Japan –International scientists will gather near Tokyo on Tuesday, March 25, for a week-long meeting centred on a grim climate change report that warned of floods and drought that would stoke conflicts and wreak havoc on the global economy.

A draft of their report, seen by the Agence France-Presse, is part of a massive overview by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), likely to shape policies and climate talks for years to come.

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, from Tuesday to exchange ideas and release a full report at the end of the conference on March 31.

“We have a lot clearer picture of impacts and their consequences… including the implications for security,” said Chris Field of the United States’ Carnegie Institution, who headed the probe.

The work comes 6 months after the first volume in the long-awaited Fifth Assessment Report declared scientists were more certain than ever that humans caused global warming. (READ: Warmer Earth, humans to blame – UN panel)

Rising greenhouse-gas emissions will “significantly” boost the risk of floods, with Europe and Asia particularly exposed, the draft says.

Temperature increase was also leading to decline of renewable water resources, while the rising sea level was seen to displace “hundreds of millions” of coastal dwellers by 2100, according to the draft report.

Average yields of wheat, rice and corn were seen to fall, while demand for crops will likely rise sharply due to expanding population. (READ: How climate change threatens our food security)

Poverty, migration and hunger are invisible drivers of turbulence and war, as they sharpen competition for dwindling resources, the report warns.

By reducing carbon emissions “over the next few decades”, the world can stave off many of the worst climate consequences by century’s end, says the report.

The panel has issued 4 previous “assessment reports” in its quarter-century history.

The Yokohama volume goes further than its predecessors in forecasting regional impacts in greater detail and emphasising the risk of conflict and rising seas.

The IPCC’s last big report in 2007 helped unleash political momentum leading to the 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen. But its reputation was dented by several mistakes, seized upon by climate sceptics as proof of bias. –

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