Evidence is mounting day by day that mankind is to blame for climate change, and the financial crisis is a temporary setback in the hunt for solutions, the head of the U.N. Climate Panel said on Tuesday.
Rajendra Pachauri, whose panel shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. vice president Al Gore, said the downturn could dominate for 2-3 months before politicians return to focus on fixing long-term problems like global warming.
“The evidence … is getting stronger by the day. We have much more evidence available of what the human role is in climate change,” he told Reuters by phone from India. “One has every reason to take action on what’s already been said.”
Pachauri’s panel, which draws on the work of 2,500 scientists, said last year that it was at least 90 percent sure that mankind was to blame for warming and forecast more droughts, heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.
He said at the moment everything seemed to be “on the back burner” because of worries about the financial system. “I’m absolutely sure that climate change will be the last thing people will think about at this point in time.”
“But it’s not going to go away,” he said. “Sooner or later, they will come back to it.” Arctic sea ice, for instance, shrank to its smallest ever recorded area in September 2007, and came close to breaking the record last month.