Chennai: Humanity will face immense difficulty in coping with the climate change after a point. But options are available to adapt to climate change and implement stringent mitigation activities so that the impact is within manageable range, a top environmental scientist said Sunday.
"Beyond certain point it will be difficult for human society to cope with climate change. If we delay the mitigation activities, then they will become more expensive and not implementable," R.K. Pachauri, chairperson, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told select Indian media over phone from Denmark.
He was speaking to the Indian media ahead of the release of the synthesis report of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report at Copenhagen.
Speaking about the report, Pachauri said it gives the scientific proof that human actions have an impact on the climate and steps have to be taken to start the mitigation and adaptation activities.
He said the report brings out the compelling science behind climate change.
On the report's relevance to India, Pachauri said the country might have to revisit its climate change plans after this report.
According to him, the report will be valuable in creating capacity at the local levels to meet the impact of climate change.
Asked whether the report's focus is on mitigation and adaptations as the developed world is not agreeing to reduction in their emission levels, Pachauri replied in negative.
As to the cost involved in implementing the mitigation measures, he said it is for the government policy makers.
According to Purnamita Dasgupta, coordinating lead author of Chapter 9 of the Working Group 2 Report, the latest report shows climate change impact is experienced by people the world over.
She said the scientific community is convinced that the warning about the impact of climate change is true.
According to Pachauri, the solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development and what is needed is the will to change.
The report tells with greater certainty that greenhouse gases and other anthropogenic drivers were the major causes for global warming since the mid-20th century.
According to the report, least developed countries and vulnerable communities would face the challenge of climate change as their ability to cope with the risks is limited.
Substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are at the core of limiting the risks of climate change.
Since mitigation reduces the rate as well as the magnitude of warming, it also increases the time available for adaptation to a particular level of climate change, potentially by several decades.
There are multiple mitigation pathways to achieve the substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades necessary to limit, with a greater than 66 percent chance, the warming to 2 degrees Celsius - the goal set by governments.
However, delaying additional mitigation to 2030 will substantially increase the technological, economic, social and institutional challenges associated with limiting the warming over the 21st century to below 2C relative to pre-industrial levels, the report finds.
According to the synthesis report, the mitigation cost estimates vary, but that global economic growth would not be strongly affected.
Consumption - a proxy for economic growth - grows by 1.6 to 3 percent per year over the 21st century in the normal scenario. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this by about 0.06 percentage point.
These economic estimates of mitigation costs do not account for the benefits of reduced climate change, nor do they account for the numerous co-benefits associated with human health, livelihoods, and development.
"The scientific case for prioritising action on climate change is clearer than ever," Pachauri said.