Hope Persists? – by Nimer Ahmed

You control climate change

Denmark had hosted the 15th UN’s Climate Change Conference from 7th December till 18th December 2009. At Copenhagen 193 countries negotiated to strike a much-needed deal to save entire human civilization but failed to deliver the answers for climate change. In 2007 Conference in Bali, it was conceded by all members that currently, they are far behind in “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” -Kyoto protocols- and revised agreement is needed to answer grave climate problems.

According to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report, besides having agreement to save climate, “concentration of green house gases continued to increase, even a bit faster”. Oksana Tarasova, a specialist working with WMO said in an interview, “Even if we stop all the emissions right now, after 100 years, 30 percent of the amount added to pre-industrial level will remain in the atmosphere”.

Recent global scientific synthesis are suggesting that climate changes are occurring at a faster pace than all previous forecasts and projections with artic ice melted 40% greater than expectation, Antarctic ice sheets are fast losing mass, sea level rising about 80% than projections made in 2001 and Carbon-dioxide emissions are 40% higher than 1990: and great climate scientist James Hansen is predicting that 2010 will be the warmest year ever recorded. With more droughts and floods, less ice and snow causing fresh water scarcity, more extreme weather conditions and rise in sea level in last decade, it was quite evident that climate was not waiting for success at Copenhagen.

Time is passing at a high pace and thousands of negotiators from all over the world and UN are trying to build a bridge between diametrically opposed economic interests to set up a legally binding treaty in 2010. While critics of this process are arguing that current process will end up nowhere because developed world is still more concerned about economic melt down than ice-caps, and are hesitant to provide needed funding to save climate without realizing the fact that they have to provide finances to developing world to save climate, or otherwise there will be no agreement.

On the other hand there is an optimistic approach toward current negotiations, UN secretary Ban Ki-moon has urged all nations, “to formally sign on to the Copenhagen accord by registering their support. The faster we have all the signatures, the more momentum we can give to current process.” Ban further added that he will encourage world leaders “to directly engage in achieving a global legally binding climate change treaty in 2010.”

Global Footprint Network, an international think tank, has recently issued a report about consumption pattern of our modern era. Report points out that “Humanity would need five Earths to produce the resources needed if everyone lived as profligately as Americans.” In 1961, the entire planet uses almost half of the earth bio-capacity but today, 80% countries uses more bio-capacity available within their boundaries. Current consumerism is not only causing food scarcity in developing world but also producing piles of wastage that is severely damaging climate, and thus caused threat to the survival of countries like Maldives, most vulnerable to climate change and Maldivian administration is exploring options to buy land from Srilanka, India or Australia to settle their population of about 300,000.

Highly venerable countries from climate change are quite rightly blaming industrialized countries for putting their survival at risk by toxication environment. But, unfortunately, major players are still not practically taking measures to cut down emissions of green house gases. In 2006 Canada unilaterally announced to ditch its target to cut green house gases under Kyoto Protocol. Canada took that decision to develop World second largest reserve of oil. Like Canada, other “so-called” peaceful country, Australia has failed to lower its annual per capita emissions, which is currently highest in world at almost 27 tones per person.

In Obama’s last tour of Asia, it was stated by many Asian leaders that it is hard to find a solution for climate change in Copenhagen and, as time passed it holds true, it is becoming more and more evident after Copenhagen that petty interest of both developing and developed nations will hinder the course for treaty at Mexico Conference in 2010. It is also equally depressing that industrialized countries are willing to cut emissions only by few percent, though their industrial development is the major cause of environmental damage, and demanding higher level of cooperation from developing countries.

Though billions of dollars are wasted in military campaigns to secure economic interests and vested interests are compelling to launch disinformation campaigns which are defying basic scientific laws but still there is a hope that after doing wonders in past, mankind is once again facing a critical challenge where petty interest of some classes are at stake and trillions of dollar funding is needed to save climate, collective consciousness will rectify misdeeds of Copenhagen at Mexico.



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