IPCC urges Obama to raise awareness of science behind climate change | Environment | guardian.co.uk
Barack Obama should spread awareness of the "scientific realities of climate change" in the US, the head of the UN's climate science panel has told the Guardian.
Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that one of the president's priorities should be "awareness creation" on the public's understanding of the science underpinning man-made global warming.
The IPCC has come under some of the most intense attacks it has faced from heavily funded climate sceptic groups in the US, where industry-funded lobbing groups, Republicans and some Democrat politicians have resisted federal action on energy policy and climate.
Pachauri said there were three priorities for the US: to spread awareness of the "scientific realities of climate change"; it must make different types of energy, such as coal, properly reflect their impacts on climate and their scarcity by introducing some form of carbon pricing or 'cap in trade', and finally, focus quickly on preparing for extreme climate events.
He listed those three issues as "awareness creation; making sure energy prices are rationalised and providing a price on carbon, because that would ensure you're going to develop policies that are going to be low in terms of emissions and intensity. And finally, I think it's also important for a country like the US to take in hand climate adaptation measures: there should be a very clear plan."
"That [some countries have reached or are crossing a tipping point] clearly gives you the pathway that you should be adopting right away," Pachauri said. "And secondly, even with a 2C or 2.4Cincrease, sea level rise in account of thermal expansion alone will be somewhere between 0.4 and 1.4m, okay, and that's only thermal expansion. If you add to that the melting of the bodies of ice across the globe, then of course it will be higher.
Asked about the leak of a draft of the IPCC's fifth report, , Pachauri said the criticisms from climate sceptics did not deter the panel's members: they took it for granted there would be disputes over its findings.
"We're living in a free world and people will interpret things in the way that perhaps suit them, perhaps that they've a predisposition for.
"But I think in the ultimate analysis, if sane voices were to look at truth for what it is then I think people will realise that what we're saying and what the scientific community globally is saying is something that you cannot ignore, and the longer you delay taking action on it, the more complex the challenge is going to become."