Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hold your breath as the sea level rises and next IPCC report in 2014

The thousand or so scientists from around the world who volunteered their time to prepare one of the worlds most peer-reviewed publication will be assembling very soon to start scrutinising over thousands of scientific papers for consideration in the next IPCC report. With the Nobel Prize aura, we must now turn our attention to what surprises such a report will hold for humanity in 2014. The key issues concerning small island developing states would in my view be:

1. Climate Refugees - The recent report by the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL) in the UK, highlights the fact the IPCC projections are conservative and a larger sea level rise is expected. Be prepared for shocking data from the melt-down of Greenland and Antarctica. Lack of adequate scientific research in small islands will, however, limit opportunities to link such melt-downs with sea level rise events, although the science is very clear.

climate-change-2007-impacts 2. Water wars - Although small islands will face very serious water crises in the next decade, scientific research and publications in this domain is sparse. Lack of published scientific papers implies that the issue is not adequately addressed in the IPCC report. Mr Wills Agricole and I recently published a paper in the journal AMBIO which highlights the issue of water security and climate change in Seychelles. In fact the IPPC has just released a small report on this issue as well.

3. Food crisis - This crisis will hit all nations, but the poor will be hit the hardest. Those with one cup of food will have to contend with a half cup of food. How will IPCC present the state of the world's poor in 2014 is an important outcome if we are to understand the magnitude of the impact of climate change on the worlds poor and those that are vulnerable, which also includes small islands.

As the IPCC engages in its next report it is vital that some of these issues are adequately explored from a scientific perspective, so as to ensure the issues faced by the worlds most vulnerable and living below the poverty line receive the required global attention, one of IPCC's core mandate.