Thursday, April 23, 2015

Coping with climate change

A UAE paper today said that the while the world marked the Earth Day on Wednesday with increasing calls for global action to combat climate change, the words of UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, need to be taken very seriously: "There can be no Plan B because there is no Planet B."

The threat is real and indications are already out there. The idea is not to fear, but to take right remedial measures so as to leave the future generations in a safe and secure environment," said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Wednesday.

High sea temperatures, the UN says, have contributed to exceptionally heavy rainfall, floods in many countries and extreme drought in others. Twelve major Atlantic storms battered the United Kingdom in early months of 2014, while floods devastated much of the Balkans throughout May.

Global sea-surface temperatures reached record levels in 2014. Also, 14 of the 15 hottest years recorded have all been in the 21st century.

A group of international experts representing research institute The Earth League has stated that there is a one in 10 chance that temperatures could rise by six degrees by 2100 unless emissions are reduced.

This year will be critical for humanity ahead of a global warming summit in Paris in December. World leaders will also meet this year to discuss financing for developing countries and UN sustainable development goals are due to be adopted in September.

No country can claim to be free of climate change impact, not even the worlds superpower. Hence it is that President Barack Obama used a visit to Floridas Everglades on Wednesday to warn of the damage that climate change is already inflicting on Americas environmental treasures.

In Florida, rising sea levels have allowed salt water to seep inland, threatening drinking water for Floridians and the extraordinary native species and plants that call the Everglades home.

Christy Goldfuss of the White Houses Council on Environmental Quality said without stepped-up action, Joshua Tree National Park in California could soon be treeless and Glacier National Park in Montana devoid of glaciers.

According to NASA satellite calculations, water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans.

As experts have pointed out, there is a need for complete phasing out of greenhouse gases by 2050 and measures to build up resilience and safeguarding of carbon absorbers, such as forests, should be initiated. Governments must stick to their promises to combat climate change and move fast towards a zero-carbon society," concluded the Sharjah-based daily.

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