Friday, 27 May 2011

Lead climate change author for small islands, in Samoa

Michael Richards - Senior Journalism Student, Vanuatu Institute of Technology

Professor McLean makes time to talk with Vanuatu Journalism Student Michael Richards
Apia, Samoa - Professor Roger McLean, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead coordinating author for Small Islands has spent the past week in Apia, Samoa attending the Lessons for future actions meeting.

Just three weeks before he was in Vanuatu to review two major projects on climate change, one being the Pacific sea level and climate monitoring project that deals with tide gages in 12 different Pacific countries.

While in Vanuatu he learnt that language is a very big barrier to communicating climate change issues in small island states.

“Tonga, Cook Islands, Kiribati and some other small island countries have only two languages, English and their own language and very easy for the communication and understanding while it’s harder in Melanesia with the numerous different dialects,” said the IPCC lead coordinating author.

As for the IPCC climate change reports, they have started working on as assessment report which expected to be released in 2014.

“It’s a little early to elaborate on that assessment report but for the small island chapter, the authors who have been appointed are undergoing through the process to get it done and should be ready for the next three years”, he said.

“We have just started the report now, it will go through the assessment of having it reviewed by the experts in a formal review process, then we have to re-write it and then another consultation by the governments and experts before the final report will be accepted.”

Dr McLean is an independent scientist who works with small islands on climate change issues.  He became involved in this field after conducting research with colleagues on Pacific atolls such as Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands, as well as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

The IPCC Lead Editor for Small Islands Developing States, Dr Leonard Nurse is also in Samoa for the same meeting.

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