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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Climate Change Begins at Home

I recently had an interesting visitor. Moira Rankin, from the US Soundprint Media enterprise, one of my partners in the ongoing Arctic feature series, dropped in to Bonn on a trip to Europe. She is heading for Siberia, to visit a core drilling project, which I hope to be able to give you more news on in May.
Moira was telling me about a forum they’d held to get peoples’ reactions to some of our programmes on climate change. One of the main things that came out was that people really want to know “what does it mean for me”? Climate change really comes home to people when they know it is going to affect them personally.
Well here in Bonn, on the Rhine, in the German state of North-Rhine Westfalia, we’ve been presented with the results of a study looking exactly at that today.
The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, one of the world’s most renowned bodies of its kind, conducted a study commissioned by the states’ Ministry for Environment, Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. And the results indicate the need for future-oriented policy, now.
We are going to get more heavy rain in winter, with higher risk of flooding. In summer, it’s likely to be the very opposite, with hot, dry summers and less water in the rivers. This, in turn, will affect energy, because we need water for cooling. In some regions, we may also see less ground water forming, because of higher evaporation in hot weather. There are a lot of implications for health, agriculture and biodiversity. We can also expect more frequent and more powerful storms.
Of course this in not as dramatic in some areas of the world, where people’s very existence will be under threat and they will have to migrate to survice.
But as Moira found in her listener research – people are more likely to pay attention and see a need for action if they know they’re going to be affected personally.


April 28, 2009 | 2:38 pm