Scientist: Adapt for global warming

September 5, 2006

The British Association for the Advancement of Science says the world must focus on preparing for the "hotter, drier world" that global warming will bring.

Association President Frances Cairncross said politicians and environmentalists put too much emphasis on trying to prevent climate change and not enough on adapting the world to the warmer temperatures it will bring, The Times of London reported Monday.

"Adaptation policies have had far less attention than mitigation, and that is a mistake," she said.

"We need to think about policies that prepare for a hotter, drier world, especially in poorer countries. That may involve, for instance, developing new crops, constructing flood defenses, setting different building regulations or banning building close to sea level."

Cairncross said efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions are important, but she said a significant degree of warming is likely even if a global agreement is reached to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

She said prevention and adaptation measures should go hand in hand.

"There are some things that we can't adapt: We can't relocate the Amazon rainforest or replace bleached coral reefs, but we have to think about adaptation with mitigation," she said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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