Arresting climate change
Yet another UN Climate Summit is to be held this year
to save the planet from extinction. The Copenhagen confab aims
to set curbs on emissions of heat trapping greenhouse gasses
beyond 2012. The Summit comes at a time when global warming is
taking a heavy toll on the global ecosystem. What is more, third
world countries which have gone to great lengths to protect
their environment are becoming increasingly vulnerable.
Already Nepal is feeling the effects of the phenomenon with a
rapid melting of its glaciers in the Himalayas which threaten to
dry up all the rivers of the land-locked nation. Also animal,
aquatic and plant life has been threatened in large swathes of
the Asian region. The fast dwindling glaciers in the antipodes
is having a knock down effect elsewhere in the world interfering
Meanwhile the UN's Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) has warned that a rise in sea levels of between 8 to 59
centimetres (7.2 to 23.2 inches) by 2100 would be enough to make
Maldives inhabitable. Its President is on record stating his
Government has started saving money to buy a new homeland for
its people to flee in the future.
It may have been a remark made in jest. But it is certainly
no laughing matter. Very soon the world is going to pay a very
heavy price for the greed of a few who had failed make provision
vis a vis environmental factors in their head long rush for
industrialisation. This cavalier attitude towards nature has now
come to haunt these very nations.
Had the industrialised nations paused to consider the
long-term damage their actions would cause to the well-being of
the environment the world would have been spared this panic. But
greed and the race to outdo the rest blinded them to the
repercussions whereas a more planned out development strategy
would have minimised the damage.
Now there is a flurry of activity by these very nations to
get others to apply environmental standards with global
seminars, conferences and workshops conducted almost round the
clock. Invariably targeted are the poor developing countries who
had no hand in the crime. On the contrary it is rest of the
world who is now suffering the consequences of the runaway
industrialisation by these countries without a thought to
environmental impact. Worse, the third world countries like the
Nepal are feeling the heat so to speak of the global warming
triggered by greenhouse emissions.
Already warnings have been sounded that Sri Lanka's marine
eco-system will be affected due to sea level rise around its
coastal zone due to melting of the Himalayas.
Therefore the problem related to Himalayas has become a
regional phenomenon. Maldives will not be the only country in
the region that will be affected by the rise in its sea levels.
Sri Lanka too is beginning to feel the effects. Already we are
witnessing a distortion in the weather patterns and the seasons.
Many of our once gushing waterways and spouts have run dry and a
marked change in the ecosystem is being observed. The abnormal
heat and humidity experienced often is also an indication that
global warming is having its impact in these parts of the world.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has speeded up the process of
sustainable development in a bid to salvage the situation
somewhat for Sri Lanka, difficult though it may be, to combat
the phenomenon which is all consuming.
Therefore all third world countries should band themselves
together to play a more active role to protect their own
backyards from the invading cancer.
They should make their voices heard more at these Global
conferences on Environment to demand effective measures at
damage control. For, it is the poor countries who are now paying
the price for the follies of the unrestrained industrialisation
of the big world powers who appear yet unrepentant.
For, these workshops and Global Summits have yielded nothing
by way of safety with the powerful countries shying away from
committing themselves to environment protection that would
compromise their development plans. Most of these summits have
ended in stalemates while global warming assumes new dimensions.
It is time the third world insists, enough is enough.