Actions against climate change cannot wait
Canada is now hosting the UN-sponsored conference at Montreal on climate change. The national delegations there are debating the course to take. Meanwhile, a leading climate scientist of the USA has reportedly warned that the world has just about ten years to take decisive actions to substantially reduce emission of the greenhouse gases. The links between emission of such gases and earth warming and the consequent phenomena of climate changes are now well known to all concerned. As such, the situation does rightly demand the initiation of decisive actions without brooking any further delay. If this is not accomplished, then irreversible climatic catastrophes could descend on planet earth with the sea level rising by a meter, submersion of huge areas of lands under the sea, occurrence of more frequent and serious cyclones, flooding, etc. The US scientist warned that just one degree centigrade of further earth warming could put the environment of the planet on a tailspin and wreck a havoc of the sort that earth has not experienced for more than 500,000 years.
Thus, there is every reason for the mainly politicians who are attending the Montreal conference on climate change to heed this warning very seriously indeed. For these are not half-baked projections but very expert ones in the field, based on long years of study of the changing climatic patterns. The scientists have solid evidences to prove their point. Various recent testings in the polar caps showed the glaciers there to be melting and at a faster rate than ever before. The Himalayan glaciers which are the sources of fresh water and environmental stability are also melting at an even quicker or alarming rate. The latest investigations indicated that at this rate of melt-down the Himalayan glaciers could melt away completely in another twenty or thirty years creating initially more flooding and then waterlessness. This is because the river systems in South Asia and their river flows as supplies of fresh water depend much on these frozen bodies and their steady regular melting. South Asian countries, therefore, have not only to be particularly concerned about the glacial depletion and the consequences thereof, but also to be very much concerned with the net effects of global warming, i.e. sea level rise and loss of lands to the sea and more frequency of storms and their intensification.
The melt-downs of the glaciers and even records of some sea level rise in the last decade, are clearly lending substance to the warnings of the scientists that the governments of the world do not have so much time to waste to ponder the issues. They must go for -- with no loss of time -- for one measure in the main that can halt earth warming in its tracks. That measure relates to adopting and implementing policies at their national levels to cut down emissions of the greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol was the most promising one in the present decade that some of the most polluting nations have agreed in practice to cut down emissions of the greenhouse gases. But the full effectiveness of the protocol will not be realised until the biggest single greenhouse gases-emitting country in the world, the United States, becomes a signatory to this protocol or a follow-up one and start adhering to the same. The assembled delegates at Montreal, therefore, need to put the greatest emphasis on persuading the USA to come under the Kyoto framework. They also need to step up their persuasion of a few developing countries -- Brazil, India and China whose pollution levels have been rising significantly in recent years from reckless expansion of their economies -- to come effectively under the Kyoto framework.