Climate Change: An ignored crisis?

Sat, Feb 6, 2010

In Focus

Climate Change: An ignored crisis ?

When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves – David Orr

For the past couple of years, we have witnessed many global financial economies in free fall. Living had become a fight for survival. Every possible resource was dedicated towards supporting and strengthening the economies. Now we hear that we are on the path of recovery and are assured of bright times ahead. Isn’t there anything else threatening us with a greater magnanimity? Can we really say that we are in the “safe zone”?

The buzzword is ‘climate change’. It refers to the change in weather patterns over a long span of time. It is a gradual process that happens due to variations in solar radiation, deviations in Earth’s orbital motions, movement of tectonic plates reconfiguring land and ocean areas, and changes in greenhouse gas emissions. But over the last several decades, this process has hastened considerably. Scientists tell us that the sun once emitted only 70% of power as much as it does today. Some of the key indicators of this phenomenon are listed below:

  • Global average temperatures have increased rapidly over the past several decades.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions increased by 70% world wide between 1970 and 2004. Rapid melting of glaciers and change in sea level stand as a physical evidence.
  • Reliable recordings (that began from the 1850s) show that eleven of the twelve warmest years worldwide occurred between 1995 and 2006.

Such conspicuous shifts in weather patterns across the world have affected crops and farming patterns. The shifting monsoons which result in droughts have seriously impacted farmers in many countries. This in turn affects food prices, which have started spiraling upwards. We have also witnessed floods in India, West Africa, Great Britain and Ireland, Heat waves in southeastern Australia and temperatures variations like never before. – 40 degree Celsius temperatures killed nearly 20 lakh species in Mongolia. Every time the temperature has surged towards the extremes, human deaths have been reported. Evidence points at anthropogenic factors like increase in carbon dioxide levels due to burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and ozone depletion as the cause of this climate change. How well have we tackled this overwhelming threat?

Scientific bodies like Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had been setup in 1998 for evaluating the risk of climate change caused by human activity. Global policy makers across the world are involved in constructive dialogues. Government representatives of major economies who are member of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international environment treaty, discusses annually the measures to be taken to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. But the outcomes of these steps do not seem appeasing. Kyoto protocol was the only legally binding obligation for the developed nations to reduce their green house gas emissions. Even the recent Copenhagen summit saw the developed nations shielding themselves from the rest of the world in order to protect their own national growth. In spite of the criticism, developed countries are now looking at ‘Cap and Trade’ as a solution to control pollution by providing economic incentives to industries reducing emissions. Success, in terms of fulfilling the purpose of its implementation, should be regularly monitored for the long term sustainability of this policy.

Balance between economic development and environmental degradation should be struck to ensure that both needs are satisfied. Businesses, large and small, have joined the ranks of the environmentally concerned and are making an effort to protect the earth. Whether it is by implementing a company recycling program, or by eliminating toxic materials from their products, companies are adopting the ‘Go Green’ formula. Organizations sprung up exclusively for launching this campaign indicating the growing awareness.

Indian government announced the National Action Plan on Climate Change in June 2008 stating the initiatives to be undertaken to reduce emissions from various sources. The importance of local actions needs to be highlighted as the underlying key to its success. It is every individual’s responsibility to reduce his carbon footprint on this Earth. Cutting down the wastage of electricity and water, increasing the greenery in our surroundings by planting saplings, pollution check for our vehicles regularly, intelligent use of electronic appliances, refraining from the use of polythene bags and opting for recycle and reuse of products are a few simple things that everyone of us need to follow as part of our daily lives.

It is said that the global temperatures will rise further by 1.8-4 degree Celsius in this century and possibly by as much as 6.4 degree Celsius. It is also anticipated that small island states, including 15 nations found in the Pacific, face dire and immediate consequences like inundation of coastal areas which would ultimately render them inhabitable. Despite the fact that natural resources are not abundant and ever lasting we have been perpetually plundering them for ourselves in the name of advancement. Focused on improving our comforts and lifestyles, we never spared a thought about the detrimental effect of our actions. Our mother nature, known for its generosity, is finally tending to show signs of wear and tear. We need to direct our actions towards mitigating the dangers threatening our planet. We ourselves have to solve the problems that we have caused.

Nations across the world have responded actively to the financial crisis to recover their economies. But the same seriousness seems to be missing when dealing with climate change which can push the very existence of the entire human race on this planet to oblivion. The stimulus packages put forward by various governments have put their economies on the recovery path and over a period of time it may be possible to bring them back to a high-performing state. But even with the best possible measures, the same rate of environmental recovery may not be possible in the next few decades since the damage done is not completely reversible. Though, we cannot fully restore all that is lost, we can try and reduce the damage which is being done. At the current alarming trends of climate change, all nations need to take immediate responsibility of combating climate change to ensure a better life on the planet for the future generations to come.

Praneeth Rao V

MBA Batch of 2011

10 Responses to “Climate Change: An ignored crisis?”

  1. Pankaj Solanki Says:

    I could not agree more.History is repaeating itself compelling us to endure the ‘White Man`s Burden’ once more. But the only way to jettison this mammoth, is collaborative and innovative efforts.I reckon that in the developed countries where per capita emission has become some what stagnant, it would be difficul to demolish the system in place and reconstruct one with ‘Green’ at its core. A wiser idea would be to invest and shape the developing economies growth on the green line along with reshaping that of the developed ones.

    Well written Praneeth!!

  2. Sarkari Naukri Says:

    Man I love this article and it is so fabulous and I am gonna save it. I Have to say the Superb analysis this article has is trully remarkable.Who goes that extra mile these days? Well Done.. Just another suggestion you shouldinstall a Translator Application for your Worldwide Readers .

    I’m impressed, I must say. Very seldom do I discovered a blog thats both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your opinion is outstanding; the issue is something that not many people are talking intelligently about. I am really happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to it.

  3. Collapse Survivor Says:

    This is an excellent article.

    It seems to me that governments only act on pressing environmental concerns when their economies are clearly at stake. Yet a risk of neglecting the impact of climate change is total economic collapse.

    My hope is that technology will mature before rising oil costs and environmental degradation bring our society to a halt. There’s a lot of research into environmental repair via self-assembling nanomachines — but this technology is still in its infancy and has dangers of its own.

    Thanks for the read.

  4. Mayank Jain Says:

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  5. Julian Farley Says:

    China and India are the worst, overall polluters. But, America is BY FAR the worst per capita. We need to stop wasting so many natural resources, and Americans need to bring their carbon footprint down a lot. Then they can go to these other countries and make a strong case for them to do the same. The fact is, as long as America is the global economic leader as well as the pollution leader the developing world is going to let their desire for a better life (economically) outweigh the long-term negative affects of pollution. There is a website that offers up information as what to do when you’re caught in a disaster such as this at survival guide and it’s got some great stuff as well as humorous.

    To play devil’s advocate… what if these fluctuations in the global temperature are completely natural? The article points to reliable readings starting in 1850 but that’s really not that long in global terms… the Earth has been around for millions of years. Just saying, it’s a confusing issue but this article is one of the best written arguments i’ve seen thus far.

  6. biuro tłumaczeń Says:

    It’s very good post.

  7. Carol Smith Says:

    We are not in the “safe zone” at all. The present financial crisis might be almost over (although I don’t think it will be over so fast). But there are a lot of other things coming, you even mentioned some of them. Just wait and see. It’s natural but it doesn’t mean it’s a disaster. We can get over everything.

  8. Michael Rooney Says:

    I have my doubts. For many places the rise in Global temperatures will actually be a boon. Russia for example are looking at the possibility of actually increasing usable land area.
    I do understand that in general it will have a negative outcome but the entire picture needs to be examined prior to making any real decision on the matter.

  9. Harry Says:

    I don’t think that climate change is an ignored issue at all. In fact it is the opposite and has had huge media attention.

    I fully agree with the idea that we should all be green in order to protect the planet. However, my problem is that there does seem to be a significant lack of data when it comes to proving global warming.

    In my opinion, the evidence is just not there. For example, scientists have always led us to believe that tree rings are a sign of global warming as they represent temperature changes over the years. Yet there is simply no evidence to support this! It is caused by Lunar Cycles and Solar Flares (of which there is to be the largest one on Monday night). Take a look at this website:

    http://blindedbyscience.co.uk

    It’s an informative read for anyone, like me, who questions what we are told about climate change and global warming.

  10. Neilson Says:

    A project called Global Cool is designed to help people become more knowledgeable about how their actions can hurt or help Earth’s climate. The venture’s lofty goal is to get one billion people to lower the levels of carbon emissions they put into the environment. Orlando Bloom, Josh Hartnett, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Pink are several of the celebrities involved with this initiative. Some bands have also joined Global Cool.

    Hope this can more attentions to people to take serious concern about our globe.


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