Copenhagen summit: An attempt to reverse the changes

New Delhi, July 2, 2012

We are all by now well aware of the fact that climatic changes like global warming is proceeding at a very fast pace. The prevailing scientific opinion on climate change is that the dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system is the main contributing factor in the growth of green house gas concentration in the atmosphere and subsequent rise in temperature.

To address the threats of these unpredictable climatic changes of the 21st century, a treaty named the Kyoto protocol was first formulated in Kyoto, Japan in the year 1997. As it expired in the year 2012, a new treaty needed to be in place to strive for a solution to the unfolding catastrophe. This treaty will arise with a new ray of hope to provide a solution to the existing dilemma of climate change.

This treaty is the result of the conference which took place in Bella Centre near Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. Representatives from 170 countries were present to address the issue. The Copenhagen climate council was a global collaboration between international business and science. This UN climate summit called Conference of Parties -15(COP15), aimed at creating global awareness and innovative yet achievable solutions to climate change as well as to assess what is required to make the global treaty effective.

The treaty will attempt to reduce the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by the year 2050. The result of declaration called the Copenhagen Accord was due to be completed by 31st January 2010, but at present only 55 nations have delivered their agenda to cut carbon emission.

Even if the treaty comes with a promise of change in the current environmental conditions, can we as humans deny the fact that we have a major hand in altering the environment to such an extent where the changes made seem to be irreversible.

It has been estimated that the temperature on earth has been increasing at an average rate of 0.3% per decade or 5 degree Celsius in 170 years due to industrialization. There has been a rapid increase in the amount of gases like Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides, the source mainly being from the exhausts from automobiles and industries. Data records show that around 18 million tones of carbon dioxide is being introduced into the atmosphere daily which is responsible for 50% increase in global warming. Deforestation and disposal of plastics are also among some of the human actives which have led to an increase in global warming.

There can be dire consequences of these sudden climatic changes if not dealt with accordingly. Some effects of global warming include rise in sea level. Sea levels will rise between 10-30cm by the year 2030 and 30-100cm by the end of the next century. Even a minor increase poses as a threat to low-lying zones and coastal areas as hundreds of people worldwide would get displaced by the inundation of such areas. News reports show rising sea level is threatening life of coastal people in Orissa and submerging the Sunderbans delta. The sea level has also been reported to be rising along the Atlantic coast of America. Off-season flowering and fruiting of mango trees in the middle of the winter have been witnessed in Amroha in UP. According to some reports global warming has also led to a rise in malaria cases on Mount Kenya, and we all know such reports are not usual!

We as individuals can lend a hand in curbing adverse climate change by simple efforts like planting a tree and using recycled paper.A tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime while recycled paper used 90% less water and 50% less energy than needed, to manufacture new paper. It also produces 36% less carbon dioxide.Our everyday actions have far reaching consequences. It determines, to a great extent, whether life on earth will flourish or perish. One thoughtful action or a simple change in our habits will go a long way in protecting our environment.

- Lakshmi Mohan

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