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How close are we to ‘Climaggedon’? (Part 1)

October 06, 2019

MAX SUCQUIT JR.

Environmental scientists have raised an ominous warning: If the average surface temperature of the oceans on Earth increased by as much as two degrees Celsius and above, the results for inhabitants of this planet will be catastrophic.

Huge mountains of ice glaciers would melt, the ocean levels would rise significantly, flooding over inhabited islands and coastal communities, causing millions of deaths and massive displacement of entire populations.

Other dire consequences of “global warming” are now being felt in widespread places in every region. Wildfires are scorching thousands of acres of forested land, plantations are drying up where they used to flourish. Food scarcity sets in, and from oceans such as the Pacific and the Atlantic, supertyphoons strike with increasing frequency and destructiveness. These are looming as a real threat to humans and animals.

A man-made phenomenon

Ironically, global warming or climate change at this stage in the Earth’s history has been acknowledge by scientists as a man-made phenomenon. They said it is the cumulative effect of environmental pollution caused by the massive emission of toxic residues from factories, transportation, power facilities and even homes. Blame is also tossed on the wanton destruction of forests. This practice has been stripping the lands of protective covering that produces moisture and cools the atmosphere.

For example, the huge fires that had nearly wiped out the Amazon rainforest in Brazil in August started when local farmers tried to clear a large swath of rainforest to give way to pasturelands for cattle.

After several decades of such environmental abuse, scientists are expressing fears that we have come to a point where it is almost impossible to stop, what more, reverse its deadly effects.

Governments’ initiatives

It may be good for governments of the world to take the initiative at mitigating the effects of climate change. Among their significant moves in this direction was the Kyoto Summit of 2001 which resulted in the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol.

The treaty involving 136 nations sought to reduce industrial emissions by as much as eight percent in the next 10 years or so. Yet, the agreement fell short of expectations. In a surprising move, the US, one of the leading contributors of industrial pollution, decided it would not be to the best interests of American industries to submit them to the rigid emission limits set by the treaty. It was argued that the treaty would slow down the US economy.

Another significant move toward emission control was made in Paris in 2015. But again, the US dealt it a major blow when it withdrew from the Paris Agreement at the urging of then newly elected President Donald Trump. He declared he did not believe in climate change, even calling it a “hoax.”

The latest initiative toward slowing down climate change came in August. In Poland, 196 countries adopted the rules laid down in the 2015 Paris Agreement. This was during the 24th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).

Their aim is to limit the rise in average world temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Farenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

But again, concerns over economic growth among the nations must have drowned out all other warnings about climate change. Have these governments only paid lip service to the increasing initiatives to cut carbon emission, yet prove lukewarm to the idea?

Accordingly, Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of World Meteorological Organization (WMO), made a negative assessment of the development toward emission control, indicating it has been too slow.

“Greenhouse gas concentrations are once again at record levels and if the current trend continues we may see temperature increases three to five Centigrade by the end of the century. If we exploit all known fossil fuel resources, the temperature rise will be considerably higher,” Taalas warned.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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