Australia more vulnerable but prepared, says UN climate chief

After all the misinformation bad reporting from The Australian (Summer of disaster ‘not climate change’: Rajendra Pachauri), here is a more accurate piece about what Dr Rayendra Pachauri actually said when visiting Australia this week.

By Tom Arup, The Age

May 17, 2011

SCIENTIFIC evidence linking climate change to the intensity and frequency of natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and drought is mounting, the head of the world’s peak climate science body says.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said a new report on extreme weather events to be released later this year will support previous findings natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity around the world.

Dr Pachauri said Australia was one of the countries more vulnerable to an increase in natural disasters, but its wealth and knowledge means it was better prepared to adapt than other countries which would be significantly impacted, such as Bangladesh and Burma.

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The extreme weather events report was commissioned by IPCC member counties and will also outline findings on the potential regional impacts of a climate change driven increase in natural disasters.

Dr Pachauri was on the Gold Coast yesterday for a meeting of scientists working on the report.

”I can say that what we found in the [IPCC] fourth assessment report [on climate change] is certainly going to be supported by what this report is uncovering: that extreme events are increasing in frequencies and intensity all around the world,” Dr Pachauri said.

”There are some communities that are far more vulnerable than others, and I hope we can identify some of those and some of the locations with a little more specificity.”

But after a summer of natural disasters in Australia, including the floods and the cyclone in Queensland, Dr Pachauri warned against drawing links between climate change and an individual weather event, instead pointing to an overall trend.

”I really wouldn’t link any single set of events to human-induced climate change.

”I think scientifically that’s really not possible … the scientific basis is clearly not strong enough,” he said.

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1 thought on “Australia more vulnerable but prepared, says UN climate chief

  1. A useful update on climate science was released today by the Climate Commission, authored by Dr Will Stefen.

    The Commission’s website is:

    The report is available at

    There are many news reports about it. Including:

    The report is very up-to-date and filled with graphics and key pieces of information for informing the current policy debate.

    I particularly liked Chapter 3, which was the clearest explanation I’ve seen of the ‘budget approach’ to setting policy targets.

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