Experts gather to discuss adaptation on climate change

The third IPCC report comes out this week. Expect the fights to begin

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued two dire reports this year on global warming and now the third comes on May 4, and it discusses technologies for adapting to climate change.

Adaptation to some level of warming is inevitable, according to experts. Even if every nation in the world decided go green tomorrow, conversion to clean forms of energy will take years. Thus, greenhouse gases will continue to get into the atmosphere and heat up the globe.

The IPCC is expected to state that mitigation or adaptation won't be as costly as some have claimed. Delegates to the IPCC, who have arrived in Bangkok for a week-long conference, earlier said that stabilizing greenhouse gases could cost as much as three percent of the world's gross domestic product, according to reports from the opening press conference.

Some of the more promising techniques for adapting to climate change involve coming up with alternatives to coal to generate electricity or to run cars on batteries. Many have also touted things like CO2 sequestration, better energy efficiency, and desalination (to replace the water that won't be in glaciers.)

Some of the costs in adaptation could also be offset, possibly, by lower healthcare costs.

The U.S. and China, who have voiced concerns about the earlier report, have already complained, via the Associated Press.

The organization in the first two reports this year outlined problems that may occur if actions are not taken to curb global warming. Around 20 to 30 percent of the animal and plant species will experience significant risks to extinction while droughts will hit southern Europe and large swaths of Africa.

The IPCC earlier this year in its first reports stated that human activity is the primary cause of greenhouse gases and hence global warming. The increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere primarily derives from fossil fuels while nitrous oxide and methane have increased primarily because of agriculture.

Right now, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 400 parts per million. If it goes to 600 parts per million, global average temperatures could rise 1.8 to 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100. If CO2 rises to 1500 parts per million, it could rise to between 2.4 and 6.4 degrees Celsius.

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About the author

    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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