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‘Be ready for more variable future’

patna Updated: Nov 03, 2012 13:15 IST
Aloke Chatterjee
Aloke Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
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Climate change and global warming is here to stay, creating uncertainty about the future, said experts at the inaugural session of the 3-day 34th Indian Geographical Congress (IGC) held at the Wheeler Senate House of Patna University (PU) here on Friday.

In his inaugural address on the theme ‘Hazards, vulnerability and sustainable development’, Prof Michael Meadows, HoD, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, University of Cape Town (South Africa) and secretary general, International Geographical Union, said the best way out would be to unfold the uncertainty of future through intelligent guesses.

“Look at the past and project the variables,” he advised, arguing planners and policymakers to start planning for an ‘uncertain future’ as longer records (of climate or temperatures) were just not available. “Accept the reality of an even more variable future”, he said, expressing the hope, that it would work.

Meadows, a state guest, however opined, that the situation was not absolutely hopeless and something must be done to avert a crisis.

Yet, he admitted the vital role of geographers in meeting future challenges, referring to the recent hurricane Sandy that ripped through the US east coast and the havoc created by Neelam cyclone in the states of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh yesterday.

Meadows clarified, that climate change and the resultant melting of mountain glaciers, isolation of polar bears, rise in sea levels, increase in extreme frequency of cyclones and hurricanes and warmer sea temperatures, were caused by high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “It is getting warmer more rapidly”, he added.

Maintaining, that “Climate change is nothing new he said, “It has been going on since thousands of years”. He advised climatologists to attribute climate changes by modeling climates to explain the uncertain future.

Earlier, Prof R B P Singh HOD, department of geography, PU, Prof R B S Singh, who is also the convenor of the 34th IGC, in his welcome address, mentioned the close man-environment relationship that geographers seek to explain.