Saturday, April 07, 2007

IPCC report declares that there are no winners from global warming

The draft IPCC report declares that there are no winners from global warming and that hundreds of millions may be put at risk of hunger and water shortages. At the same time the survival of hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species is threatened. Lacking a scientific background I am in no position to evaluate these and other claims made in the report. Nevertheless I have some concerns about comments made by two contributors that I would like to air. Rajendra Pachuri, chair of the IPCC panel is quoted in the Guardian as saying:
It's the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people in prosperous societies, who are going to be the worst hit.
This is an example of someone clearly overreaching himself. The correct answer is (probably) that the extent to which individuals gain depends on whether climate change takes them closer to or further away from their preferred climate. I speculate that poor individuals residing in countries that move closer to their optimal climate will gain more than rich individuals probably will.

Likewise Neil Adger who is now Professor at the Tyndall Centre in the University of East Anglia comments:
There are no winners from the impacts of climate change. No country is immune.
I'm sorry but I think that this is absurd if taken at face value and find the very tone of the remark troubling. I can easily imagine some countries gaining from climate change even if the majority of countries will lose. There are also going to be winners from climate change if one thinks about it in terms of certain groups, regions and economic sectors. Again, these are likely to be outweighed by those who lose. Why would anyone wish to deny these possibilities?

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