MITIGATING THE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING ON OUR ENVIRONMENT
Prelude to the gathering of world leaders in Copenhagen in2009 under the auspices of the United Nations, for discussion on how to replacethe Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, former British Prime Minister, GordonBrown wrote an article entitled: “My Plan to Save the Word” in NewsweekMagazine. In the piece, he said: “…The economic damage of unchecked globalwarming could amount to 5 to 20 percent of global GDP- an economic cost greaterthan the losses caused by the two world wars and Great Depression of the 20thcentury”. According to kyotoprotocol.com, Kyoto protocol is a legally bindingagreement under which industrialized countries will reduce the collectiveemissions of green house gases. The Protocol is a treaty negotiated in theJapanese city of Kyoto in 1997, but came in to force on February 16, 2005. While planning for this article, I sought the views of someliterate individuals in our
society, but, I discovered that most of them cannotdifferentiate between global warming and ozone depletion, let alone distinguishingtheir causes! However, while ozone depletion is caused by the release ofChlorofluoro carbons (CFC) in the atmosphere which penetrates the ozone layer,creating holes in the atmosphere, allowing the permeation of ultravioletradiation, global warming is the gradual rise in the temperature of the earth'satmosphere. Global Warming is caused by carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane,sulfur, hexafluoride etc. I must also add that chlorofluoro carbons which causeozone depletion are released by refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosolspraying cans, foam insulation etc. Similarly, the effects of global warming are becoming toovisible. For example, the melting of glaciers which is responsible for the risein the sea level has caused great flooding with devastating effects on humanbeings and animals in Philippines, Nigeria and many
other countries! Anothereffect of global warming is droughts. Droughts lead to farming, especially inAfrica where farmers depends solely on rainfall for agriculture. Somalia andEthiopia are examples of farming prone nations occasioned by droughts!Hurricane is another visible effect of global warming. As temperatures continueto increase, storms and hurricanes of different magnitudes are often experienced!For example, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy in the United States andTyphoon Sendong in Philippines. All theses alterations in global weathercondition over a long period of time is what is known as climate change. According to Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine's Chief EnvironmentWriter in the 2008, Time's Annual Special Report on Heroes of the Environment,he said: “The drumbeat of scientific alarm over climate change intensifies,while greenhouse-gas emissions only accelerate. In our growing billions weoverrun the earth, competing for resources and
space, elbowing out animals andplanets. The basic element that makes modern life livable-energy-is threateningto make our planet unlivable. We want to help, but the scale of the challengeleaves many of us feeling powerless” But he went further to state that: “… Inthe face of human creativity and will, no challenge is too great, and no battleis unwinnable- if only we'll fight”. It is in this light that the formerBritish Prime Minister, Gordon Brown in his article I quoted earlier said: “…The need for low-carbon energy production and Infrastructure, both to replaceaging infrastructure in the developed world and to meet the needs of rapidgrowth in emerging economics, will require up to $33 trillion of investment by2030, according to estimates from the International Energy Agency”. He said: “By2015, the global environmental sector could be worth $7 trillion and sustaintens of millions of jobs”. Nonetheless, in Nigeria, we are still
bogged down by manyenvironmental issues ranging from deforestation, waste management, erosionflooding, desertification, pollution, gas flaring, oil spillage and otherorganic and inorganic substances that degrade our environment. Though theNigerian Government has tried in the area of erosion and flood control projectsin 62 locations of the country, improving ecotourism and restoring degradedsites, encouraging afforestation by raising millions of assorted tree seedlingsunder the Presidential Initiative on Afforestation, but we still need morepolitical will to enforce environmental standards in the nation's oil and gassector. A sector that accounts for about 86 percent of our export, but offerslittle employment opportunities for our people because, most of the works aretechnological intensive and as a result, there are done by machines. Finally, just as Gordon Brown said: “Climate Change presentsa stark injustice: it has been largely caused by the
emissions of the richestcountries, yet its severest effects are being felt by the poorest”. Based onthis assertion, I think the rich nations should offer more assistance to thedeveloping countries, if not to compensate them for the injustice of climatechange. Comrade Edwin EkeneUhara is a young Nigerian activist and Public Affairs Commentator. He is alsothe National President of Young Nigerians for Change.+2347065862479,[email protected] 29, Ben MbamaluCrescent, Achara Layout, Enugu State, Nigeria.