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It can't be said more clearly. The effects of climate change are profound and global. They will affect us all, and there is an urgent need to focus on adaptation. This is the solid message from the Intergovernmental panel on climate change, IPCC. But will this message be brought forward to the UN climate talks?
The recent IPCC report on impacts of climate change is full of scientific data, numbers and estimations based on research from all over the world. However, each number can be translated into a human being, men, women, elders and children. A changing climate will affect us all, lack of food and water, spread of new deceases, and massive damage to infrastructure and livelihoods. It will also turn people into refugees, and trigger conflicts which may develop into war.
Solutions within reach
The situation is critical, but there are also solutions. There are ways to adapt to climate change, to cope with natural disasters, and through safe migration programs, people who are forced to leave their homes could be compensated, and helped to settle somewhere else.
Many solutions have already been developed, while others are on their way. The challenge is to find the resources, to make the necessary investments, and to direct technology development to the areas with most need.
The link between research and politics
The IPCC report is based on research, but governments are still negotiating the final outcome. A paradox it may seem, but the process converts scientific analysis to a politically accepted starting point. When the report is adopted, all governments should consider the results in their policy development.
At the last session of the UN climate talks in Bonn in March, the role of adaptation in the contributions parties are to deliver to a new global climate agreement were discussed. Western countries hesitate as they want the focus to be on mitigation. Some Western countries, including the US, even question if the situations where adaptation no longer is possible, so called "loss and damage", should be part of the future agreement.
In June, parties meet again to continue the negotiations towards a future climate agreement. With the newest research in their hands, negotiators cannot say that they lack proof about the urgent need for adaptation. If the IPCC report is used as a starting point for common understanding, adaptation must get more attention. By giving it attention in the future climate agreement, and by ensuring that the contributions parties will deliver, refer both mitigation and to adaptation.
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