Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Prof. Munasinghe first Sri Lankan to win Nobel honours

Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace.

The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award.

Professor Munasinghe is the first Sri Lankan to receive this coveted award, and shares the Prize along with other members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
As Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Professor Mohan Munasinghe shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC colleagues and Al Gore, for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.

The IPCC is a UN "Think Tank" consisting of the world's leading experts on climate change. It was created by the World Metorological Organisation (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) over 20 years ago. Professor Munasinghe has contributed to all four of the authoritative assessments on climate change produced by the IPCC in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007.

In its recently released report, the IPCC states that global warming is unequivocal and very likely caused by human activities that have steadily increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) since the industrial revolution. Among the alarming outcomes are increased global average temperatures (around 3°C by 2100), sea level rise (about 0.4 metres by 2100), more severe droughts and floods, and increases in extreme weather events like cyclones and storms. Ironically, while greenhouse gas emissions from rich countries have contributed most to global warming, the poor countries will be hardest hit, and poor groups will be the most vulnerable. Thus, climate change will significantly worsen existing problems like poverty, hunger and disease.

More generally, unchecked climate changes will alter and threaten the living conditions of the over 6 billion inhabitants of the planet, who are all stakeholders.

Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the dedicated scientists in the IPCC have created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support. In the last few years, the connections have become even clearer and the dire consequences still more apparent.

Professor Munasinghe has been in the forefront of the IPCC efforts recognized by the Nobel Prize award, to integrate climate change policies into development strategy, and thereby make development more sustainable. He proposed the Sustainomic Framework at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, to practically achieve this goal, based on the sustainable development triangle (with social, economic and environmental dimensions). The methodology has been widely applied worldwide to jointly address climate change and sustainable development, the two pre-eminent issues of the 21st century.

Professor Munasinghe is also Chairman of the Munasinghe Institute for Development (MIND), which has contributed to the work of the IPCC. MIND is a non-profit body which provides scholarships to Sri Lankan students and conducts research and training work worldwide on climate change and sustainable development. By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC Team and Al Gore, the Nobel Prize Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world's future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of humankind. Prompt action by world leaders and all concerned stakeholders is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond human control. Professor Munasinghe has served his motherland in a number of capacities as a scientist and researcher.

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Ineshka said...

WOW!! :) This is really great! :)

Wondering said...

Professor, could you explain what all this climate change is about. Most of us have been aware of looking after our planet for the last few thousand years. Dont you think we are but mere specks in a huge universe and that there is an hidden agenda for people like Al Gore and others who have just brought this up without putting it into its historical context. Also it is hard to be impressed by him and many others who preach about this in such a shallow way and then actually have huge carbon footprints themselves.

AP said...

Wondering: Al Gore could well be doing this for hidden reason, he is a politicain, so fair enough on your suspicion. However, climate change issue has been proven by stats and records, compared over time. Many scientists have been involved in them. If these was nothing to worry about, wouldnt they call that out? forget Al Gore or politicains on this one, just go by the educated and research findings, then you will feel comfortable with accepting the fact that there is a real climate change problem. Not sure whats meant by putting this into historical context.

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