Climate Change Summit: A ray of hope!

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by Shamsuddin Muhammad

The world temperature has increased for last sixty years due to parallel rapid expansion of industrialization and other processes that emit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with out consideration of human beings living on the planet.

In many parts of Pakistan like Gilgit-Baltistan this has become more visible where summer is now hotter and winter even more colder than a few years before. In winter especially in early days of month of December, people hardly experienced snow fall of the volume currently being observed. While, the rise in temperature in summer has triggered the rate of melting process-creating a risk of low lands in the country, especially.

Many organizations working both in government and private sector have failed to address the issue on emergency basis except delivering charming speeches to impress audiences. Similarly, laggard response of many states like India, China and few others have undermined the efforts of some sincere minds to save the rest on planet.

Addressing an international conference on climate change, Mr.Larss Lokke Rasmussen, Danish prime minister has urged international community for immediate action saying by the end, we ought to be able to deliver back to the world towards a hope for a better future adding the summit must deliver bit significant and remedial action on climate change in terms of curb on carbon emissions. The two weeks long conference hosted by Denmark at Copenhagen to address International Climate Change ended on December 18, 2009. The issues has been planned and debated frequently for many years in past with little outcomes. The Copenhagen Climate summit is considered most vital since 1945 on global level when more than 15,000 participants from around 190 nation states are sitting together to make efforts to sort out resolution of a crucial issue through binding agreements to curb on global carbon emissions coupled with a comprehensive taxation scheme-an instrument for re-distribution of wealth share to third world states. In other words, the high level talks aims to reach an agreement on a deal for measures to help curb greenhouse gas emissions and the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from rich to poor countries to help developing nations adapt to climate change over the coming years.

Analysts expect a political commitment to meet targets for the next many years onwards. The summit is an fine opportunity to protect this planet distort in a quest for more wealth by few hands that harmed not only themselves but also the rest. Globally, there are two school of thought on the issue: one that holds that globe is getting warmer day by day-thus caused to melt down glaciers and instrumental to sink down islands on earth, while, the second claims that the temperature on globe is decreasing year by year gradually-a reciprocal to first hypothesis. The first group vindicates their stance based on some examples like of the case of Maldives which is apprehended to disappear with in next few years due to rise of sea level on part of melt down of glaciers on earth. While the other group claims that in many parts of world there has been trend of decline in temperature. Majority of these climatologists believe current rises in temperatures and melting icebergs are part of the Earth’s natural cycles, and not induced by man-made devices. Apart from the discussion whether the world is getting hotter or colder, on regional level the temperature for last five years has drastically changed. The temperature has been extreme cold in winter and hotter in summer than before causing to bring viral diseases in the region. There are many challenges in this regard and the major challenge facing the global summit is to overcome deep distrust among developed, under developed and less developed nation states regarding arrangements to sustain the burden of costly curbs on emissions. The second challenge before it is the aid for climate conservation should not take away the amount reserved for other issues of developing world like poverty reduction, health, gender equality and food security. The ongoing international conference will prove a turning point as a response to climate change to find a way for reduction in rate of emissions. China, USA, Russia and India, being the world largest emitters have agreed to bring a long term solution to the issue through cuts in the emissions.

A major accomplishment in the summit was made public when Lisa Jackson, heads of US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed orders declaring six greenhouse gases including Co2 has been declared as pollutant and subjected to state regulations. Similarly, Obama administration has declared greenhouse gases a human health hazard, means US president can sidestep congress to legislate on emissions cuts; environmentalists hailed US announcement saying the move will induce other nation states in summit to think on issue seriously. US the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China has vowed to cut emissions about 17 to 18 percent in next ten years. US administration made this announcement following the release of a government report under five of the judges of Supreme Court since 2007 concluded that the greenhouse gases have threatened American people and recommended to reduce Carbondi-oxide with other pollutants from burning fossils fuels under Clean Air Act. Yet, a crucial incident in terms of leaked emails from a research centre of UK University that defies the preposition that the increase in temperature is because of human beings. On the other hand, the findings of United Nation’s panel of climate scientists that human beings are warming the planet and man is responsible for increase in temperature was overshadowed following the critics based on leaked emails called as Climate gate from Anglia university’s research section. Climate gate, a scandal over leaked emails from the UK which suggested that there was no human cause of global warming has given birth to another discussion on climate. The critics say it is not about the science. It’s about the money. The representatives from island states will talk about the threat they face to their very existence from rising seawater adding It would be about winners and losers and how to reshape global markets. On the other hand, public protest in various cities of Europe has served to increase pressure on global leaders to reduce rapid rise in emissions which are causing draught, mudslides, powerful cyclones, extinction of species and rise in sea levels. A regulation named Kyoto pact obliges developed nation states to curb emissions till 2012, and the main motive behind the Copenhagen summit is to get bring about the major emitters China and India, still exempt from the Kyoto agreement that proved less fruitful as many countries refused the proposed pact two years back. It is believed that the global temperatures may be increased by human activities and until and unless carbon dioxide and other pollutants are brought under control, global warming will continue. When analyzed economically and politically, there needs a higher cost of cutting in emissions. USA is the world’s largest polluter may contribute its share of financial aid to the developing countries. Most developing economies will deviate from carbon based economies if they are offered a huge economic incentive for this time more fruitful venture is to drill for oil and dig for coal. The recent economic meltdown has undermined a hope for transformation of new technological industries to get curb about 20 percent in next ten years. It is appreciable that many countries are now ready to accept it an issue to be addressed on priority basis and strong resentment in protests of people in cities of Europe shows their attention.

On country level, many conferences and seminars are conducted elaborate the phenomenon of climate change. There is a burning debate going on to transform economies of both developed, developing and underdeveloped countries to carbon free entities. The issue for Pakistan is even more vital for its sustenance. A slight change in climate can bring drastic change in nature of glaciers that provide water for cultivation of crops. A negative aspect can result into food insecurity; draught and famine along the rivers like Indus which are already face water shortage.

In Pakistan, both government and other Non-governmental Organizations took initiatives in past but without an appropriate plan, coherent communication strategy to unify their scattered and individual efforts. Now the time has reached to address the global dilemma on priority basis. Mere lip service and formal statements will no work. On national level, the country also needs a comprehensive and significant action plan to address the issue on long term basis.

The writer is a freelance researcher, analyst and the editor of the blogVoice of Hunza (http://www.voiceofhunza.blogspto.com) He can be reached at jaashams@gmail.com

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Pamir Times is the pioneering community news and views portal of Gilgit – Baltistan, Kohistan, Chitral and the surrounding mountain areas. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan and independent venture initiated by the youth.