In 2007, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Fourth Assessment Report. The report included work by thousands of specialists from around the world, synthesising findings from more than 6,000 scientific studies. It set off a wave of debate and shock over the apparent pace of global warming – and earned a Nobel Peace Prize for the IPCC.
Now the IPCC is drawing up its Fifth Assessment Report, which will again be co-edited by the IPCC’s chair, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri of India. On Monday, he provided a sneak preview of its findings at a "Changing Climate" seminar in Joensuu, eastern Finland, also featuring Heidi Hautala, the Finnish Minister of international Development.
According to Pachauri, the most important way of limiting the harmful effects of climate change is making polluters pay for their carbon dioxide emissions.
"There are whole range of options which are actually negative-cost options,” he told Yle. “We also found that perhaps the most effective instrument for bringing about mitigation would be a price of carbon."
Praise for Finnish cleantech
The UN body also sees high-tech solutions to many climate-change problems -- and calls on countries such as Finland to do their part to develop them.
"I'm a great admirer of Finland's ability to come up with technology solutions,” says Pachauri. “You have very high capabilities: you have research organisations, universities and industries which are really the leaders in so many technologies. So, yes, Finland can really provide some of the technological solutions that we need." Pachauri adds that he has high hopes for Finnish research into creating new types of biofuels, for instance.
The IPCC will reveal the first part of its Fifth Assessment Report in Stockholm in late September. Its director is bracing for a range of criticism of the report -- or perhaps even looking forward to it.
"We love debate, after all science only drives under debate. We welcome it, as long as it's objective and well-intentioned," says Pachauri.