Climate change also means opportunities, scientists say at Yokohama meeting

AP, Kyodo

Along with the enormous risks global warming poses for humanity are opportunities to improve public health and build a better world, scientists at a climate change conference in Yokohama said Tuesday.

About 500 scientists and government representatives from 100 countries meeting in the port city are putting the finishing touches on a massive report emphasizing the gravity of the threat that climate change poses for communities from the polar regions to the tropics.

“Although it focuses on a whole analytical and sometimes depressing view of the challenges we face, it also looks at the opportunities we face,” said Christopher B. Field, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “This can not only help us to deal with climate change, but ultimately build a better world.”

Japan’s awareness of the severity of climate change has been driven home by record temperatures of over 40 degrees and by unusually heavy snows this winter, said Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara.

Japan plans to release an adaptation plan by summer 2015 that would focus on a more “eco-friendly lifestyle,” he said. That includes improvements in energy efficiency ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We aim to take full environmental consideration so that the Tokyo Games will be the ‘environmental Olympics,’ ” Ishihara said.

Japan is struggling to rein in its own emissions of greenhouse gases after all nuclear plants were shut down following the Fukushima nuclear crisis stemming from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The increased use of fossil fuels to compensate for the lost electricity supply has undone much of the progress the country had made in cutting carbon emissions.

While each region faces its own mix of challenges, research conducted by thousands of scientists around the world underscores the need for urgent measures, Jeremiah Lengoasa, deputy head of the World Meteorological Organization, said in a recorded message to Tuesday’s meeting.

“Time is running out. We must take action,” he said. “It is our obligation and our duty to inform the world of the prospects and risks that lie ahead.”

  • Karl Davis

    Nuclear power sounds like a good approach to me. Everything has risks and costs, but I sure like nuclear better than coal.

    • Travis Shoemaker

      Nuclear is great but too many people don’t trust Fission. Fusion not Fission is the only way we will get back into building a nuclear enterprise.

  • krk

    “We will improve public health and build a better world”, says Christopher B. Field, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the World Meteorological Organization (I love the title, but who does he actually report to, work for?).

    About 500 scientists and government representatives from 100 countries meeting in the port city of Yokohama (last week it was Finland!), the group cited a need for “urgent measures.” They claim that “Time is running out. We must take action,” he said. “It is our obligation and our duty to inform the world of the prospects and risks that lie ahead,” said Jeremiah Lengoasa, Deputy Head of the World Meteorological Org.

    So tired of the rhetoric and attempted power grabs and high drama by our scientist friends from the UN, with funding from the U.S. and influence from the creator of the internet, Al “I didn’t force myself on her” Gore. Right out of the obamacare playbook too!

  • Travis Shoemaker

    Conferences demanding governments regulations rarely make lasting changes. I think everyone on the planet has heard both sides of the argument by now. Regardless of someone’s position, the real answer is a new form of power production. Fusion is the best bet. Until these groups recognize and support research that creates something to solve the problem instead of taxing the problem this conference and any like it will continue to waste money that could have produced a technological advance in power production.

  • Travis Shoemaker

    Scott,

    Great points one and all. By more investment I meant we should fund projects like Lawrenceville Plasma Physics or similar projects that don’t involve ITER or lasers. There is a way to find a solution to fusion out there. Why we focus our money on two methods is beyond me. Eric Lerner’s theory explains all extraneous results of other experiments. His research is nearly open source. Even if LPP is wrong there are a lot of other small research initiatives that show promise. Fusion is the future, we just need to explore more areas of research surrounding it.

    • Scott Sinnock

      My old lab, Sandia, is trying electron implosion, more mass but harder to focus.