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GLOBAL VOICES057? To achieve that goal, mitigation efforts andinvestments over the next two to three decades willhave a large impact on opportunities to achieve lowerstabilisation levels. Delayed emissions reductionsignificantly constrains the opportunities to achievelower stabilisation levels and increases the risk of moresevere climate change impacts. Neither adaptation notmitigation alone can avoid all climate change impacts;however they can complement each other and togethercan significantly reduce the risks of climate change. Responding to climate change, therefore, involves aniterative risk management process that includes bothadaptation and mitigation and takes into accountclimate change damages, co-benefits, sustainability,equity and attitudes. Changes in lifestyle and behaviorpatterns can contribute to climate change mitigationacross all sectors. Policies that provide a real orimplicit price of carbon could create incentives forproducers and consumers to significantly invest in lowGHG products, technologies and processes. Mitigation options are associated with a range of co-benefits, which include lower levels of air pollution andassociated health benefits, higher levels of energysecurity, higher levels of employment and higher levelsof agricultural production. The AR4 has assessed thatfor a stabilisation level of between 445 to 535 ppm ofCO2equivalent the reduction of average annual GDPgrowth rates up to 2030 would be less than 0.12 percent. The range of global GDP reduction in 2030,therefore, would be less than three per cent as part ofa least cost trajectory towards different long termstabilisation levels. The association of co-benefits,such as those related to the objectives of development,sustainability and equity should also be seen in thecontext of estimated costs.The AR4 has assessed a number of mitigationportfolios for achieving stabilisation of GHGconcentrations, and energy conservation andefficiency are some of the most attractive optionsavailable. It was also found that the buildings sectorBelow: A supervisor using a 3D viewer with a panoramic view ofthe Earth during theUnited Nations ClimateChange Conference inCancun 2010

among others had substantial potential for emissionsreduction, which remained relatively unaffected bydifferent levels of cost associated with GHG emissions.Another area that has significant potential is theforestry sector, and perhaps in the short term thiswould provide some attractive opportunities. Mitigation therefore presents a range of benefits,which can be achieved at very low, and sometimeseven negative, costs. In the negotiations to followduring the coming days, it is important for thoseinvolved to remember that delay in mitigation actionswould only increase costs globally and unfairly forsome regions of the world.The second, perhaps even more important point toremember is that delays in action would only lead toimpacts of climate change which would be muchlarger and in all likelihood more severe than we haveexperienced so far. Again, these impacts are likely tobe most severe for some of the poorest regions andcommunities in the world. Significantly, in most casesthese communities have hardly contributed to thecumulative emissions of GHGs in the past.Furthermore, even if we could limit global averagetemperature increase to between 2 and 2.4°C abovepre-industrial levels at equilibrium, some impactswould be unavoidable and global average sea-level riseon account of thermal expansion alone would liebetween 0.4 and 1.4 metres. To this we should add thecontribution to sea-level rise from melting of ice acrossthe globe.The year 2010 has been a challenging period for theIPCC and we have learnt many valuable lessons. InMarch last year the UN Secretary General and Irequested the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to carry outa review of IPCC procedures and processes and providerecommendations for strengthening the organisationand its functioning. The IAC submitted its report in August 2010, and thelast IPCC plenary held in Busan, Republic of Korea, in058GLOBAL VOICESOctober 2010 deliberated on the IAC report, andinitiated prompt action to consider and implement itsfindings. We are confident that the IPCC will emergestronger as a result of this exercise and live up to theexpectations of the global community and stand up tointense public scrutiny of its work. Work on IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is wellin hand, and the scientific community has respondedsplendidly to the Panel's request for its dedicatedinvolvement. A record number of around 3,000nominations of outstanding scientists were submittedfor the AR5, and from these a total of 831 have beenselected by the IPCC as lead authors and review editors.Left:Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri