(2014-3-25) -- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched a five-day conference Tuesday, as the UN-backed scientific body takes strides to conclude its report on the global threat of climate change.
More than 500 scientists from some 100 countries gathered Tuesday in the port city just south of Tokyo and will spend the 5- day session negotiating, alongside global government representatives, the challenges faced by climate change and the adaptations needed to palliate the impending hazardous effects.
Specifically, the IPCC and government officials will discuss, debate and analyze the current and future effects of global warming, before releasing a new, comprehensive report Monday, the IPCC said.
"Although it focuses on a whole analytical and sometimes depressing view of the challenges we face, it also looks at the opportunities we face," Christopher B. Field, co-chair of the IPCC said.
"This can not only help us to deal with climate change but ultimately build a better world,"Field said at the plenary meeting being held in Japan for the first time.
The IPCC's other co-chair, Vicente Barros, added that their team of authors had assessed thousands of papers to produce a definitive report of the state of knowledge concerning climate- change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, with Japan's Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, underscoring the importance of taking immediate action.
"I have realized the seriousness of climate change," Ishihara said, based on his own experiences in Pacific islands such as Fiji.
"As Japan prepares to host the Olympics in 2020, we will try to make Tokyo a low-carbon, environmentally-friendly and eco-conscious city," the environment minister pledged.
IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri noted that Japan has always been "deeply supportive of the IPCC," but the country is facing its own challenges as carbon emissions continue to rise ahead of the summer peak, as fossil fuels are being burned as Japan's nuclear power plants remain shuttered in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami-triggered crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant -- the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
The unique challenges each country faces in addressing the possible adaptation measures it can take to avoid what the IPCC described as an approaching era in which climate change will pose a "wide range of serious risks to human security," were highlighted by Jeremiah Lengoasa, deputy secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
"While each region faces its own mix of challenges, research conducted by thousands of scientists around the world underscores the need for urgent measures," Lengoasa told the conference Tuesday in a recorded message.
"Time is running out. We must take action," he said, highlighting the fact that countries in Africa are already spending 7 to 15 billion U.S. dollars a year on climate adaptation.
"It is our obligation and our duty to inform the world of the prospects and risks that lie ahead," Lengoasa added.
Ongoing contributions to the current report will continue at the next session, scheduled for next month in Berlin. At a previous session last year in Sweden, the IPCC's report revealed that they were 95 percent certain that human action alone is responsible for rising global temperatures since the mid-20th century.
The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change and seeks to provide the world with a "clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts, " according to the body's official statements.
Operating under the auspices of the United Nations, the IPCC -- while not involved directly in conducting research or monitoring climate related data or parameters -- reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the ongoing global understanding of climate change.