Sri Lanka to face serious climate change

Mar 9 (InfoLanka) Despite Sri Lanka facing a threat of a serious climate change within a decade, adequate measures have not been taken to minimise the impacts of the climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change addressing the media in Colombo said.

They said this would lead to a decrease in rainfall, leading to problems with agriculture, lessening of water resources, extreme weather patterns such as severe drought, cyclones and the occurrence of natural disasters.

The Panel further revealed that, this problem does not only apply to Sri Lanka but to the whole world. "Worst impacts of climate change would be on the poorest of the society. Climate change will make storms more frequent and severe and will magnify the number of deaths," IPCC Chairman R.K. Pachauri said.

However with the climate change, the situation would be more vulnerable for the increase in health related problems, such as Malaria and other waterborne diseases in Sri Lanka. "Malaria which affects only certain parts of the country, would become more vulnerable in other parts of the country with the climate change," IPCC Vice Chairman Mohan Munasinghe said.

He went on to say that detail research have been carried out to identify the problems. "No measures have been taken at the moment, only planning is being carried out. But no major effects would be seen to the problem at the moment but would at least take a decade for one to see the impacts of the climate change."

"In Sri Lanka when it comes to the agricultural problem, we will have to study ways and means of cropping patterns and not stick to the same traditional methods. According to a study on a range of rain crops with the kind of projected temperature in 10 to 15 years time, we will see a decrease of around 20% to 25% in yields, if the patterns are not changed accordingly" he said.

Mr. Munasinghe also said that, Sri Lanka would also have to look for more thermal opportunities in the country, as with the drought the hydro potential in the country would minimise. "We must have thermal power, let it be coal or even any other source as long as it is thermal."

He went on to say that water would be scarce in time to come. "However it is reported that nearly 50% of the water supplied is wasted mainly due to leakages. We cannot reduce leakages completely but we can reduce it to a considerable amount."

Mr. Pachauri added that in finding mitigation methods, one would have to learn from other countries in the world. " We cannot make the same old mistakes again. We will and are finding every solution that would help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases."

The IPCC has warned that, if steps are not taken to address the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG's), the global temperature could increase by 3C, and the sea level would rise by about 50 cm by 2010.