Sydney, Oct 15 (UNI) Climate change threatens the achievement of Millenium Development Goals, vital to the well - being of human society and the elimination of widespread poverty, according to renowned scientist R K Pachauri.
Dr Pachauri is the head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, joint winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
The UN Panel has determined that climate change is likely to add to several stresses that already exist in the poorest regions of the world and affect the ability of societies in these regions to pursue sustainable livelihoods, Dr Pachauri wrote in a column for Sydney Morning Herald.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges, ranging from banishing extreme poverty to halting spread of HIV/AIDS.
The possible impact of global warming was brought into focus by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon when he told about 80 heads of state and government in September that the phenomenon has endangered the achievement of Millenium Development Goals to be met by 2015.
According to the findings of the Panel average northern hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than for any other 50-year period in the past 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1300 years.
By 2020 between 75 million and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to an increase in water stress due to climate change in Africa. Coupled with increased demand, this will adversely affect livelihoods and exacerbate water-related problems, the UN panel found.
It has been assessed that agricultural production in many African countries and regions would be severely compromised by climate variability and change, the Indian scientist wrote The area suitable for agriculture, the length of growing seasons and yield potential - particularly along the margins of semi-arid and arid areas - are expected to decrease. In some countries yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 per cent by 2020.
Another serious impact of climate change is the melting of glaciers all over the world, and this has serious implications for South Asia and parts of China.
Water availability is projected to be affected in Central, South, East and South-East Asia. Given the fact that population growth and increasing demand resulting from higher standards of living would require larger quantities of water, the impact of climate change could adversely affect more than a billion people in respect of water availability in Asia by the 2050s.
Climate change and its impacts in the most vulnerable regions require a careful evaluation of humanitarian assistance across the globe. Increased resources will be required for adaptation to climate change.
The possibility of large numbers of people becoming environmental refugees is not only a humanitarian problem of serious proportions but also has the potential for social disruption that needs to be avoided.
Stringent mitigation needs to be undertaken immediately, and existing technologies and methods are available for this. Adaptation to climate change, particularly involving the poorest communities in the world, assumes urgency.
In view of the new knowledge provided by the panel, the world needs to take climate change as a serious problem that needs a humanitarian approach, Dr Pachauri pointed out.