Climate change demands concerted efforts to address

It is shocking that the world was still entangled in debates on whether or not Climate change was taking place, and whether or not it was human induced.

It is shocking that the world was still entangled in debates on whether or not Climate change was taking place, and whether or not it was human induced.

However, the debates and skepticism should stop since climate change is now a scientifically established fact in our amidst. Most of the people living in third world countries have already felt the pinch of climate change effects.

According to Human development report 2007/2008, the world’s poor will suffer the earliest and most damaging impacts. So far, some African countries are experiencing prolonged droughts and floods. This has not only led to famine but also death and displacement of people.

While these human calamities continue to occur, it is regrettable that the world is still engrossed in debates, conferences, workshops and research about climate change rather than acting.

For so many people, climate change is still looked at as politics of the developed world yet the situation continues worsen and affects us all.

In other words, as world conferences and research go on about climate change, the crisis of climate change continues to bite.

In the Human Development Report 2007/2008, it is indicated that if climate change is not addressed, the future of over 40% of the world’s population hangs in balance.

Urgent action means we must act now and borrow President Paul Kagame’s words describing the ongoing conflict in Kenya, “….There is no time to go into niceties and debates when killings are taking place.” The same should be done with climate threat.

Though world reports continue to indicate it’s the poor countries mostly that will bear the brunt of climate change ultimately, it will be humanity as a whole that faces the risks of climate change like global warming.

Global warming is already happening and apparently world temperatures have increased by 0.7 degrees centigrade since the dawn of the industrial era. Climate change as a threat to humanity demands cooperation since it affects us all in one way or another.

Today we live in a world that is divided along resources, religious affiliations, cultural and ethnic identities but in the face of all these differences, the issue of climate change should be a binding factor.

This is because despite the differences in physical, economical, social and geographical positions, we all share the same atmosphere which is called the planet Earth. The Earth’s atmosphere does not differ.

Ironically, whereas the developing world is and will continue to face the adverse effects of climate change, the developed world has been a leading cause of this environmental problem.

For instance, a common problem with the developed world associated with climate change has been the Green House Gases (GHGs) from China and United States due to their massive energy production like Nuclear power.

Therefore, the developed world should accept responsibility and take the lead in fighting climate change, besides they have both financial and technological capacities in addressing the crisis.

However, avoiding the unprecedented threats posed by dangerous climate change requires practical national strategies.

For instance, the government of Rwanda took the bold step of banning the use of polythene bags which are a big threat of the environment. The same should be done in others countries and not wait for global action- we are not sure of its coming.

According to a report by the Economics of Climate Change (fourth assessment of the International panel on climate change) solutions to climate change are more affordable than the costs of inaction.

Climate change mitigation must start now and everybody must be actively involved. There is need for drastic policy changes and ambitious new policies to address climate change.

Now that we know the danger exists, everybody should take action because it is growing with every day of inaction.

Climate change is a big threat to human development as it impairs development specifically due to the fact that its effects accelerate poverty- Africa’s biggest problem.

This is possible due to the effects of climate change on agricultural production and food security. According to the human development report 2007/2008, climate change will affect rainfall, temperature and water availability for agriculture.

It is estimated that drought affecting areas in sub-Saharan Africa could expand by 60 -90 million hectares, with dry land zones suffering losses of US $26 billion by 2060.

Practical outcomes are expected from the ongoing world conferences and dialogue on climate change between the G8 (Industrialized nations), developed and developing nations.

With the expiry of the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by 2012 ,the international community has an opportunity to avert climate change. Missing it will push the world further to hazardous climate change.

The battle against climate change is a fight for humanity which requires international co-operation to support global mitigation.

E-mail: ubernie@gmail.com

 

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