Expert: discussion on climate change of utmost importance following panel warning

A projection of future changes in climate is seen on a screen during the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change final conference in Paris, photo: CTK

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which met in Paris last week, sent its gravest message yet regarding global warming on Friday. This group of scientists and climate experts concluded with at least 90 percent certainty that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity as opposed to natural processes were warming the planet. These threaten drastic changes, which could have far-reaching consequences for the future of mankind. Czech delegates also took part in the meeting and have stated that they hope this will spur further discussion at home.

A projection of future changes in climate is seen on a screen during the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change final conference in Paris, photo: CTK
The findings by the IPCC - the International Panel on Climate Change - may be bleak but they have elicited promises within the international community to begin serious negotiations on how to put a stop to global warming. Experts make clear no such effort can be successful without strong commitment. But that is not to say global warming is without its sceptics. Speaking on the subject in the past, some, like the Czech President Vaclav Klaus have suggested that there were issues of far greater priority. He's not alone: reacting to the IPCC's findings, the president's spokesman Petr Hajek stunned some observers by suggesting in an interview for the online Czech server idnes.cz that those who believed human civilisation was responsible for global warming were "naïve".

Bedrich Moldan
A little earlier I spoke with Civic Democrat Senator Bedrich Moldan, an ecologist and former environment minister who was part of the Czech delegation in Paris, and asked him for his view.

"I must say that I am not very happy with the reaction of certain politicians and people in this country because they still regard the work of the IPCC scientists as just a group of people who are not 'too relevant' and this is an enormous mistake. This is really the work of all the climatologist community and other scientists. It is very thoroughly reviewed. The results from the previous study in 2001 were both conservative and cautious and that is the same with these results. In my opinion, the discussion should be 'what should we do now', 'how many economic resources should we devote to the problem', and start the discussion here."

Photo: CTK
Bedrich Moldan says that in the past the Czech Republic not only met but surpassed emissions caps required by Brussels but says that in effect the country needs a far more comprehensive strategy when it comes to the environment. The senator expressed some confidence that the new Civic Democrat-led government which includes - for the first time in the country's history the Green Party - will face questions of the climate head on, but even more important will be the role played by the EU.

"Certainly there you have to take into account the approach and attitude of the European Union which is rather strong in this respect. It's an evolving and changing position and we are part of it and of course we must react to that."