Saturday, 29 December 2018

Impact Of Climate Change And Possible Solutions

Impact Of Climate Change And Possible Solutions

"Climate change is terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority.”
-Bill Gates
CLIMATE CHANGE : The biggest consequence of the tragedy of commons is the climate change which poses an immediate threat to all citizens of the planet. The emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases and water vapor has increased exponentially over the past century. This has degraded the earth's atmosphere and has led to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer along with an enhanced greenhouse effect perpetuating global warming and acid rain. The issue first came to light in 1985, when a British Antarctic Survey Balloon provided definitive evidence of the serious thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer. A diminishing ozone layer is a global problem that must be made a priority as the layer protects the earth and its inhabitants from the damaging ultraviolet radiation. Even though efforts are made to slash the carbon dioxide emissions, little has been achieved on a global scale to ratify the issue. There is an urgent need for all the nations to equally contribute to the reduction in production of these greenhouse gases. Climate change, because of its all embracing nature and roots in human activities, poses an enormous challenge for international cooperation. Countries like China, USA, Russia, India, Indonesia and Brazil are still the largest contributors of the greenhouse gases. Climate change is also closely entwined with sustainable development and hampers its existence due to the mindless exploitation of resources leading to its depletion.
Related : Essay on Changing Climate : Changing Ourselves

CONSEQUENCES : Climate change is the single greatest threat being faced by the world today. It gives rise to a number of problems like rise in the sea level, melting of polar ice sheets, global warming, acid rain and an overall depletion of the ozone layer. It has been estimated that there will be a likely rise in mean temperatures of the order of 2.4-6.4 degree Celsius 2099. The consequences of this are grave as this would inevitably lead to a rise in the sea level due to the melting of glaciers. There have been increased incidences of unusual weather patterns, storm events and the melting of polar ice sheets that have added a dimension of public concern to the fears expressed by the international community. The problem of climate change makes it unanimous with all types of issues being faced on a global scale- the costs of overcoming the consequences of climate change makes it an economic issue; its effect on clean air and water quality makes it a health issue; the role climate change in exacerbating terrorism make it a security issue. So, combating climate change can ensure the avoidance of a number of issues related to it.
EFFORTS TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE : Since the discovery of holes in the ozone layer in 1985, serious efforts have been made to counteract the problem. Even though these frameworks and conventions have achieved little success, it has cut down the carbon dioxide emissions by a small amount. A framework convention was signed in 1985 followed by the Montreal Protocol in 1987, imposing international controls over ozone depleting chemicals. An intergovernmental panel on climate change was created in 1988 under the World Meteorological Department. It brings together the majority of the climate change scientists under three groups – climate science, impacts and economic and social dimensions. In 1997, Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change committed the developed countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and gave them certain fixed targets to be achieved in a given time frame. Unfortunately by 2012, the only signatory committed to reduce their emissions was the European Union.

SOLUTIONS : Climate change is a result of years of exploitation of the earth's natural resource system. It will take centuries to reverse the consequences of climate change and bring it back to a stable state. Hence, this problem calls for embracing adaptation and mitigation strategies. Adaptation refers to the ability of a system to adjust to climate change in order to reduce its vulnerability, and enhance the resilience to the observed and anticipated impacts of climate change. Mitigation refers to any strategy or action taken to remove the GHGs released into the atmosphere, or to reduce their amount. Apart from this, the countries should not overexploit the resources, should use them judiciously and also understand its repercussions. Within the jurisdiction of the government, it may be possible to solve the problem by turning the global commons into private property; however, this option by definition is unavailable. International cooperation plays a vital role in providing a substitute for the world government to ensure that the commons are not misused and are not subject to tragic collapse.

Climate change is, no doubt the most important issue being faced by the world today. People are so driven by the attainment of monetary success that they tend to forget the damage that is being inflicted on the environment. Capitalist notions of exploitation are being extended to the environment just as they are to people. With rapid advancements in science and technology in the third world countries, their access to these resources has increased in order to catalyze development. However, it would be unfair to these countries by stripping them of this opportunity to develop, just like the first world countries had an equal opportunity to do the same. Even with a number of frameworks and conventions in place, it has been estimated that the carbon emissions have increased by 90% since 1990. Climate change is an issue concerning each and every citizen of the world and hence, change will take place only when all the nations are together and set targets to reduce GHGs emissions. The issue of climate change calls for immediate attention and international cooperation in terms of governing the commons.

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