Global warming and climate change: a threat must be dealt with
Earlier, it was believed that the amount of solar energy caught by the earth was the sole source of influencing climate. But the continuous researches by the environmental scientists have established the fact that it is more of a human activity that is causing the earth warm than the nature itself. The long-term significant change in the average weather is considered as “climate change.”
Although the time frames are a matter of dispute by which the situations will go out of human’s reach to slow or reverse the trend, but scientists are agreed with its three ill impact ranging from widespread coral bleaching that could damage the world's fisheries within three decades, historic rise in sea level by the end of the century and to blackout of the ocean current within 200 years that moderates temperatures in northern Europe.
The worsening situation of earth, which is warming much faster than some scientists had predicted led the global community to congregate on the common platform of climate change.
Keeping these perspectives in mind, representatives of the world community met in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997 to negotiate resulting in an accord to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
After the initial hiccups, the Kyoto Protocol, the first of its kind was eventually ratified by 156 countries.
The protocol was attended by 178 member parties and 37 states of which the industrialised nations had committed to reduce emissions by a minimum of five percent till 2012 from that of 1990 levels. The platform popped up suggestions how developed countries could meet their commitments by using domestic actions and international market mechanism like clean development mechanisms (CDM).
Developing countries argued that the industrialised nations are mainly responsible for the climate change and so should take the onus for climate change mitigation by committing to further slash on green house gases (GHG) by at least 25 to 40 percent from the level of 1990 in the next commitment period of 10 to 15 years. While the developed countries called on developing world especially the emerging economy hub like India and China to check on the emissions. The summit ended with not a significant development.
The agreement reached in Bali, Indonesia in December last year committed industrialised countries to provide financial assistance to developing countries for the development of cleaner-burning energy technologies to serve as an non-fossil fuel alternatives. The developing countries asked the wealthier nations must develop consensus on how to support and compensate the developing nations for their efforts in slashing global warming.
Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to enhance international efforts to combat climate change. It decided on both the time-line and the main elements of climate change deal comprising a shared long-term vision and enhanced action on the four building blocs: mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance.
In order to set measures and obligations for the world after the first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol which expires by the end of 2012, the UNFCC agreed to launch formal negotiations at the 2009-Copenhagen conference to meet the desired objectives of long-term global agreement.
The ongoing Bangkok summit (March 31-April 04) commenced with the UN officials warning that time was running out to prepare an agreement. It is being expected that working plan for negotiations in less than two years before the Copenhagen conference could be devised at the Bangkok summit.
The working group could suggest variety of expected tools like Clean Development Mechanism, land use, land-use change and forestry, sectors and source categories to be covered along with possible approaches targeting sectoral emissions (like steel or cement sectors) through which emission reduction targets of developed countries be met.
The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference to be held in late 2009 in Denmark will have the taxing time for the developed countries to provide further technical and financial support and assistance to developing countries in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
As per the latest report by the UN sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the emissions of greenhouse gases have augmented by 70 percent between 1979 and 2004 of which carbon-dioxide accounts 80 percent. It cautious the world to reduce emissions more than half from the current level by 2050 if want to avoid stern negative impact on environment, economy and the human society.
The global temperature will be rise by about three degrees including shortage in food and water and rising sea levels.
During the second commitment period by 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol framework, the industrialised nations will be required to cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent to avert the hazardous scenario, which the IPCC has predicted.
The developed as well as the developing countries now has reached on the conclusion that world must take action to save further worsening of climate but still are divided on the ‘question of responsibility?’ whom should take more. The two factions of rich and poor nations yet have disagreed over the role ‘what should they play in reducing emissions?’.
Developing countries contention that developed countries should be more accountable towards worsening climate situation and share more onuses and reduce gas emissions seems justifiable. The rich countries must develop consensus on how to lend support (technological assistance) and compensate developing countries for their efforts in prohibiting global warming.
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