Climate Change Wake-up Call

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CLIMATE CHANGE WAKE-UP CALL
By Kawsu Ceesay
Greenhouse gas emissions are strongly linked to economic growth. The last 10 years witnessed a global economic and financial boom which also saw a tremendous increase in fossil fuels consumption resulting to greater carbon emissions. The Global North accounts for most of these emissions along with China and a few others. According to IEA’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, the average growth in carbon emissions has been 3% per annum. However, it is estimated that emissions will fall by about 3% this year thanks to the global economic downturn.
Carbon emissions have been falling three times in the last 40 years or so. The first drop occured during the oil crisis in the 1970s which saw a contraction of many manufacturing industries. The second one happened with the collapse of the USSR which depended heavily on coal to fuel its industries. The manufacturing output fell with the closure of a significant number of coal mines. The third drop in carbon emissions occured between 1998 and 1999 thanks partly to the decision of The U.K and Germany to close many coal mines switching to gas and also reduced energy subsidies in China. The current drop in greenhouse gas emissions because of the global financial crisis should serve as a WAKE-UP CALL for all governments and international companies to start seriously thinking about the need to switch to less carbon-intensive energy technologies. The greenhouse gases already relaesed into the atmosphere are likely to bring us to the 2 degrees Celcius increase from the pre-industrial global temperature average which scientists see as the threshold of potential climate catastrophe. We are experiencing harsher droughts, fiercer storms and higher sea levels. To avoid a catastrophic climate change, the IEA estimated that countires around the world will have to spend up to $400 billion per annum building 350 new nuclear power plants and 350,000 wind turbines in the next two decades to come. We all need to act now or NEVER….

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3 Responses to “Climate Change Wake-up Call”

  1. rlinton Says:

    Talk of climate change always depresses me. The Greenhouse Effect hit the media in Australia when I was in primary school. I guess having a great big hole in the ozone layer near by kind of has an affect on the public consciousness. I remember doing a school project on it when I must have been only 7 or 8 years old. I drew a picture of the Earth crying as my front page.

    I am one of a whole generation of people who have grown up knowing about the Greenhouse effect, climate change, etc. I’m 30 now, so are my peers. It’s reasonable to expect that some of my peers in relevant fields would be at a stage in their career where they can start to influence policy. And yet apparently Australia has the highest emissions per capita in the world (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/06/18/1087245110190.html).

    Here is a country that was there early on. Here is a country still not doing enough. When I arrived in England there were people saying “bring on climate change” because of the “proper summers” being seen in England. With so much of the world yet to become aware, am I wrong to doubt that there will be sufficient change in time, or even any change at all?

    • kawsu Says:

      Thanks for your comment. I am an MSc student at the university of East London (UEL). I specialise in development administration. I would be glad to share ideas and concerns with different people about the potential climate change impact on the globe. Mr. K. Ceesay.

  2. mdiate Says:

    In the context of the article it might to be said that the greenhouse effect is a term used to describe the trapping of heat in the earth’s atmosphere that would otherwise escape into space. A naturally occurring greenhouse effect is essential to support life on earth because some heat is needed to maintain temperatures conductive to plant and animal survival. However, too much heat that is kept within the atmosphere because it is absorbed by the so-called greenhouse gases can lead to global warming. It is this problem of escalating concentrations of greenhouse gases that is typically linked to the greenhouse effect.
    The article also gives hints that controversies have continued since the late 1970s about the nature of the scientific phenomenon itself and its potential environmental, social, and economic impacts. A small group of scientists and other skeptics believe that what is labeled as the greenhouse effect is part of long-term natural climate cycles or that a warming climate will not have the dire consequences that supporters of the greenhouse theory predict. They point out evidence that climate changes have occurred regularly in the past without any suspected human cause, and that adaptation by plants and animals, including humans, has accounted for much of human history. The critics caution that some recommendations to address perceived climate change are unnecessary and economically inefficient because the costs of reducing greenhouse gases are high relative to the benefits achieved.

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