Latin America and other poor regions of the world will bear the brunt of
climate change, a top official from the organization that shared this year's
Nobel Peace Prize said Thursday.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. network of scientists, was
awarded the prize along with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for their work
alerting the public of the perils of global warming.
"The results of the IPCC show very clearly the impacts of climate change will be
... much more severe for the poorest groups and Latin America is included in
that," said IPCC vice chairman Mohan Munasinghe of Sri Lanka. Munasinghe headed
a two-day meeting in Rio of the organization, its first since winning the Nobel
He said water management issues were likely to be the most pressing problem
caused by global warming in Latin America. Dry areas will become much drier and
other areas will face increased floods and associated waterborne diseases like
malaria and dengue fever.
Results from the Rio meeting, the group's fourth since 1990, will be presented
at the U.N. climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December.
Munasinghe said he felt the Noble prize gave greater recognition and credibility
to the scientific panel, which has explained the details of global warming in
thousands of pages of footnoted reports issued every six years or so.
He said despite the problems facing Latin America, the region is very proactive
in addressing the issue.
"My sense is that (Latin American) countries ... have been much more responsive
to the issue of climate change because they feel much more vulnerable,"
Munasinghe said. "For North America, particularly the United States, the
reaction is more defensive."
Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva said global warming was a burden
shared by both developing and developed nations.
"If we were to reduce our gas emission by 100 percent, without richer nations
reducing theirs by at least 80 percent, we would still be affected," Silva said,
warning that global warming could turn the Amazon rain forest into dry savanna
land in the decades to come.
Many scientists believe that the extensive Amazon rainforest absorbs carbon
dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. About 70 percent of the basin lies in
But agricultural burning in the Amazon is also responsible for about 75 percent
of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions, making it the world's fourth largest