BELGRADE– The fifth Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change has been held for the first time in Serbia, in Belgrade, at the Science Club of the Centre for Promoting Science (CPN), in which there participated UN experts, scientists from a number of European and Serbian universities.
Lecturers at the event were scientists from several European universities, members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN organ founded in 1988, as well as Serbian experts whose scientific basis of activity is linked with this field of study.
The first addresses were made by scientists from several European universities who presented the results of their scientific research in the area of climate change, as well as the structure of the IPCC and its activity since its foundation.
There was a great deal of interest in the event, and two days before its start all participant capacities were filled and it was no longer possible to apply by electronic means.
Respected Foreign Lecturers on Climate Change
The first lecture on climate change was held by Professor Dr Georg Kaser, deputy head and full professor of the Institute for Meteorology and Geography at Innsbruck University. He also made an introductory address on the IPCC and its internal organization.
The professor is a member of the first working group of the IPCC, which is involved in research on the physics of the atmosphere – meteorological parameters and influence on the climate of the planet. Dr Kaser emphasized as an exceptional example of climate change the accelerated reduction of the size of glaciers in the Arctic and the El Nino phenomenon in the southern Pacific Ocean, which has a planetary influence.
It was noted that fully 93 per cent of the Sun’s energy went towards warming up the oceans, that the oceans serve as heat sinks and that their average annual rise was 3.2 millimeters, the effects of this increase being much more pronounced on lower latitudes. Also mentioned was the immeasurable contribution made by Serbian scientist Milutin Milanković and Milanković’s Cycle and Canon of the Earth’s Insolation.
It was agreed during the debate that climate change was an indispensability, that climate changes were its normal characteristic, but in considerably longer cycles than human lives. Professor Kaser agreed that in the previous century humankind’s activities had disrupted the natural cycle in the planet’s climatic system and that this would leave immeasurable consequences on our successors unless something was done on the problem.
Professor Dr Lennart Olsson – the Director of the Center for Sustainable Studies at Lund University, addressed the gathering as a representative of the second working group of the IPCC which researches the process of adaptation of humankind and the economy to climate change.
Emphasis here was laid on the problem of the climate of cities, and the problem of warm nights. It was noted that the agriculture, one of the basic human activities, would be disrupted in the event of a rise in air temperatures. The southern European region would be drier, while northern Europe and the northern section of North America would have more favorable conditions for cultivating various plant species, which is not the case now.
Climate Refugees – a Growing Problem of the Planet
A question raised in the debate was whether the UN would adopt the category of ‘climate refugees’ caused by the growing number of storms, draughts and floods. We are witness to the suffering of the people affected by the floods which hit Serbia in the spring of 2014. People will have to move out of certain regions due to the increase in sea levels. A considerable section of Bangla Desh, the Nile delta and coral atoll lands will be swallowed by the oceans. These facts will represent a very delicate question in the future, particularly a political one.
Professor Dr Thomas Bruckner of the Department for Energy Management and Sustainable Development of the University of Leipzig, a member of the third working group of the IPCC, also addressed the forum. The area of expertise of this group is reducing the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and promotion of green technologies for producing energy.
According to this working group, the increase in temperatures in this century would be between 3.7 and 4.8 degrees Centigrade, due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases. It was emphasized that it was necessary for all governments to invest in new technologies which create less harmful gases.
‘Green’ coal-fired power plants and increased use of natural gas are only two of the ways of reducing carbon dioxide. The construction of smart buildings which do not waste energy and the use of renewable sources of energy are among ways to make the increase in air temperatures less dramatic. The scientists involved in the organization are recommending that it would be advisable that the increase of the average temperatures did not exceed 2 degrees C.
Climate Change – a Consequence of an Improper Attitude of Humans to Nature
All three scientists agreed in the concluding debate that climate changes and everything happening around us were a consequence of an improper attitude of humankind towards nature. In the words of Professor Olsson, “On a daily scale climate changes are small, unnoticeable changes, which attract media attention only in exceptional cases”. The attitude of people towards climate disasters is poor; they believe that forest fires in Australia and the melting of ice in the Arctic are unimportant for their daily lives.
Dr Kaser said that the media need to teach people that climate change does exist and is a reality. According to Dr Bruckner, already by the 1990s the German government backed a project under which every house would receive incentives for buying generators for renewable energy sources (the Sun, wind, bio-mass), as they were not harmful to nature and drastically cheaper than traditional energy production methods.
Serbian Scientists on Climate Change in Serbia
Serbian scientists viewed the problem of climate change and the production of harmful gases at the level of Serbia. In the view of these experts, climate change in Serbia would have two characteristics. In the mid-21st century, there will be longer periods of draught and wet conditions, while at the end of the century there would be a more pronounced dry period, and increased average temperatures.
Professor Branislava Lalić of the Agricultural Faculty of Novi Sad University said that the agriculture would certainly feel the effects of climate change, pointing to the problem of the distribution of rainfall, especially in the spring and summer.
It was pointed out that in April 2014 not a single drop of rain fell in a period of 29 days, which was followed by 50 litres per square meter in a single day. This requires help from the state, irrigation, the utilization of anti-hail networks, and the re-defining of certain concepts and their reinterpretation. Of course, there’s no need for panic, because all these problems can be prevented by the constant education of farmers and the inclusion of experts in the management of Serbia’s agriculture, scientists said.
Professor Aleksandar Jovović of Belgrade University’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering criticized the strategy of Serbia’s energy system, because not a single power production facility has been built in the country since 1990. It was noted with some irony that the collapse of Serbia’s economy in the transition years had saved the energy sector, as the Serbian population was the biggest consumer of electricity, which meant that TE power plants were the biggest producers of carbon dioxide.
Renewable sources of energy and increasing energy efficiency and awareness of the population are proper ways to reduce the production of carbon dioxide. Household wastes are an unutilized resource which could be beneficial for society by various means, for example composting. Instead, in spite of proper legislation, owing to poor infrastructure in Serbia wastes are deposited in open dumps, which produce methane, which is even more harmful to the economy than carbon dioxide.
In the concluding debate, in which one of the participants was Vladimir Đurđić of the Institute for Meteorology of the Faculty of Physics of Belgrade University, scientists said that in spite of the bad situation and prognoses, only expediency, re-orientation to new forms of energy production and the use of new technologies in various activities could bring about positive changes.
Humans are an extremely adaptable species and there is no certainty that we will do nothing to ensure a climatically more secure future for our descendants. By constant education and raising of awareness among people, the problem of climate change will be accepted as a reality. With the help of science humans will manage to bear this burden, the author hopes, because as the most intelligent residents of the planet Earth we are also its guardians for the future generations, who will call this place their home.
Source: House of Good News