Climate Lecture

Yesterday I attended a climate lecture by Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri. The lecture was organised by the University of Copenhagen (where I am a student), and was well visited.

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Dr. Pachauri has the chair at the IPCC,a and as such received the Nobel Peace Prize (shared with Al Gore) in 2007.

During the talk Dr. Pachauri presented both the ICPP, the research done by the panel, some of the general changes already observed in the weather here on earth and some specific events from the last couple of years. He was however very careful to emphasize that no single event could be used as a proof of climate changes.

Then the talk continued with a review of the possible future scenarios, depending on how much of a reduction (if any) in green house gasses the world manages. Especially with emphasis on the parts of the world where the largest numbers of people would be affected, and some words about what that would mean to the rest of the world.

Rising sea levels is one of the most often mentioned possible effects, but water stress and famine are also likely effects of global warming. This could again result in millions of climate refugees and failed states.

Finally Dr. Pachauri went on to talk about solutions, and the fact that the cost of reducing green house gasses would not actually be very high, and could result in quite a few new jobs.

After the talk there was a short moderated debate with the audience. There were a few people in the audience, who were very critical of Dr. Pachauri and his message. I don’t necessarily agree with them, but I did think it was to bad they weren’t given more microphone time. It is always more fun to hear people debate than agree. (Some other speakers just praised Dr. Pachauri, which may be admirable, but as such wasn’t very interesting.)

Among the critiques were Christopher Monckton, a British lord, with the most fantastic British accent. I would love to be able to talk like that!

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Photo by: Matthew McDermott

Although he has no real scientific background, the good lord did raise a valid question about one of the graphs used in Dr. Pachauris presentation. However I hope and think that the graph was included as a means to illustrate the point, not as part of the underlying scientific argument. One would expect that the work of the IPCC is a bit more detailed than what can be presented in an one hour presentation.

So, at the end of the day it was clear to me, (not that it really wasn’t before) that we need action, and quite soon. Will the cop15 be able to deliver a (good enough) agreement? Right now, my guess is no, but the leaders of the world are welcome to prove me wrong…

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