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INSAM homepage until June 2006

Last modified June 15, 2006 14:55

INSAM homepage until June 2006

An advantage of travelling is that one sees even more newspapers when on the road than at home. In the "Financial Times" of Friday 3 March, a column by Robert Matthews reproaches climate scientists to act like turkeys that are (apocryphally) only staring up at the sky when it rains with their mouths open until they drown. He argues that climate scientists are not inclined to take effects of adaptations to new situations into account, in determining the implications of global warming, but only look at mitigations of the sources of the changes. An American study soon to be published in "Environment and Development Economics" would now have proven that for the richer nations a warmer world can actually produce net economic gain and only the poorest nations would disproportionately suffer. In that case we should not worry because the richer nations then just assist the poorer ones from the gains obtained. Problem solved!

It is not incidental that even after recent hurricane experiences (for which preparedness and hazard mitigation would have been very welcome) such a column is published based on modelling evidence produced in America, because most global warming sceptics of all kinds are still found there. However, in "The Straits Times" of Singapore of Monday 6 March I read a reproduced article by Nicholas Kristof that appeared in the New York Times. It shows under the title "Caught in the loops of global warming" the danger of the positive feed backs in the global warming processes. This could easily affect a hundred million people this century as to the rising sea levels alone, Kristof says. The drowning turkeys become now a less palatable joke! So he pleads again for the source mitigations that Matthews scorns. But the latter indicates that he feels that many questions have still to be addressed: "what is the optimal mix of mitigation and adaptation, and how should rich nations assist those worst affected by global warming?".

And then we are in fact back at my reaction "Equity Climate for All" for the INSAM "Agromet Market Place" of 20 February, where I attacked in a late explosion a Letter to the Editor "Climate Equity for All" that appeared i n Science last September. We do not need these apocalyptic forecasts for the many poor countries and the poor parts of countries that also have "better off" economic regions and layers. We just need optimal preparedness first and then the mix of the maximum possible of both, mitigation and adaptation. My argument remains, like now even the Chinese government has openly admitted, after the one of India, that the situation of poor rural people is already bad enough as it is at present. If the present calamities they suffer do not provoke more assistance through (in our case) more and better agrometeorological services, an even bleaker future won’t either. We can blame lack of political will at lower levels to design and have carried out better policies, lack of interest of those better off, including the majority of intellectuals, and whatever more there can be found in scores of analytical books and articles. But in agrometeorology, and applying to many other fields of agricultural science, approaches are available that would make a difference in the livelihood of farmers, in line with what the politicians at higher levels are now advocating. See for example my "A contemporary history of a new approach to Applied Agrometeorology" under "History of Agrometeorology" on our web site. To get this kind of approaches at work at more places and give them more body and contents should be one of our main immediate tasks as agrometeorologists.

Finally for this editorial again this. The INSAM web site attracts more and more visitors. January was already a record, but February was an all time record in almost everything. Have a look at the site statistics available to members! It is easy to become a member, free of charge. We have close to 750 members from 98 countries now and, as always, I call on readers, members and non-members alike, to increase these numbers actively. Make your colleagues read our information and encourage them to become members.

This website is now four years young and we have not yet fully reached the 100 founding members that we aimed at, although we are close. Have a look at the "Society Information" to see how easily you could become a founding member. Also corporate members we still need and we would be very much assisted if you could make a company a corporate member for a one time contribution of 500 Euro. We want to remain able to pay our contest prizes and our administrative costs over the years ahead.

And, even more important, we would very much like to have your written contributions and those of new members in the debates.

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