The realm of science is not wholly unlike the realm of journalism. Many feel that a tenet of the trade is to observe and report without getting involved. However, the new leader of the world’s foremost climate science agency disagrees. Hoesung Lee, the newly appointed head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), thinks it’s time to shift the focus from investigating the effects of climate change to finding solutions. In the weeks leading up to the Paris climate talks, can this new perspective help shape the discussion on a global scale?
Lee, who stepped into the role after the previous chair holder resigned following sexual harassment claims, told the Guardian, “We have been somewhat slow in identifying the solutions aspects. I believe the next cycle of the IPCC should be more focused on opportunities and solutions.” The South Korean energy and climate economist understands that the IPCC position, and products, will heavily influence the governments of the world in the matter of climate change, and he feels strongly that a change in priorities will help spur local agencies to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a meaningful way, such as setting more aggressive goals for increasing renewable energy.
The IPCC welcomes Lee as the fourth leader since the panel was first established in 1988, when it began as a tool for the UN to provide global access to the world’s top scientific research concerning climate change. Lee’s announcement comes just a matter of weeks before world leaders will meet in Paris for a series of talks around the subject, which is slated for December. Out of that summit, a new global agreement will set the mood for future battles against climate change.
Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, agrees with Lee’s position. “We have gone beyond the point of where scientists are saying: ‘Hey, people there is a problem here’,” he told the Guardian. “We really should be furthering the use of science for policy makers… Right now we have 1,000-page reports – all of which is great science – but very little of which is actually of relevance to anybody but scientists.” Will shifting the focus to solutions, instead of continuously reaffirming the problems, help government leaders create policies that can save the world?
Via The Guardian
Images via International Institute for Sustainable Development and Shutterstock