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The ringing climate change signals

The Guardian

THE entire world community has suddenly come to the realization that climate change is not a concocted theory that comes out of the brain wave of scientists. It is no longer a thing of the future, waiting to happen. Climate change is right here with us. Climate change, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) experts say, could well be the greatest social and economic challenge that will confront humanity in the 21st century. It is not just an alarming figure. Reports by UNEP said over 11, 000 square kilometres of iceberg broke away from the ice Shelf in Antartica region recently while at the other end of the earth, the Artic ocean ice cover tinned by an average of 1.2 metres, over 40 percent within the last 50 years.

Above the sky the perforation in the ozone layer is getting wider, creating a hotter, weather condition. A tiny hole which could only take the size of a pin 50 years ago can now take the size of a tennis ball. It has been proved that warm Atlantic water has poured over 20 percent farther into the Artic Ocean , than scientists have ever seen in recorded history and one centigrade warmer than it used to be 20 years ago.

It was in view of the fact that mankind cannot fold their arms and go down  unprepared into the certain doom of climate change perils that the United Nations established in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) . The Kyoto Protocol that is negotiating the basic mechanisms for its implementation came on board in 1997. Since 1992, there has been 15 Conferences of Parties to the UNFCCC. The last was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. The 16th COP of the UNFCCC will come up in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010.

Issues discussed at the various climate change conferences, workshops, seminars, and research studies relate to new sciences on how to manage climate change; climate change, soil, water and forest management; climate change, mitigation and adaptation; climate change agriculture and food supply; climate change and health problem; climate change and modern technology; climate change and carbon trade; funding for climate change development programmes and many other matters. The programme set up  by the UNFCCC for managing climate change crisis shows that all the components that mankind requires for  survival on  planet earth, including water, forests, the soil, plants, animals and air etc are    inter-related.

Hydrologists, say, humanity uses of fresh water soared six-fold in the last 100 years and will continue to rise as one third of the world population live in countries where water is in short supply and one in every five people  on earth lack safe drinking water.

The forest regions of the world have been exposed to the severest danger of climate change abuses. Yet, the forest is needed most to provide the oxygen mankind needed to survive on earth. Four-fifth of the forests that originally cloaked the earth, according to UNEP have been cleared, fragmented or otherwise degraded by timber logging, big plantations, sports fields, and highways coupled with other misuses. Over 16 million hectares of forests are felled every year without any plan for replacement. On estimate, the experts say crop yields in Nigeria could be cut by half within the next 30 years if the present rate of desertification, deforestation and degradation continues.

The consensus of opinion is that humankind created the problem and must find answers to both natural and man-made activities that contributed to climate change. Combating climate change threat cannot be done on behalf of the people by governments and their agencies in proxy. The local communities and the ordinary citizens who are the victims of climate change must be carried along in all the government policies touching on climate change. Nigeria lies within the tropical forest belt in the Gulf of Guinea. What is the preparation for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Nigeria’s local communities? The UNFCCC has established mechanisms to fund re-afforestation and check desertification in the world tropical forest – zones in an attempt at Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation. How can Nigeria take advantage of these arrangements? The major causes of climate change hazards has been traced to the human consumption of fossil oil and coal for transportation, industrialization, toxic injection into the atmosphere, bush burning, over bore holing, over damming etc. Symptoms of climate change in urban and local environment in countries like Nigeria, include; spread of diseases; agricultural loses and food scarcity; loss of fresh water; erratic weather variation and others.

The sum total is that climate change will negatively impact on the full range of human and economic activities in the Nigerian local communities, reducing peoples’ capacity to feed themselves, creating health problems and therefore reducing means of economic survival, which in turn may lead to crimes and violence. Natural forests have the potentials of reversing climate change damages. The tropical forest cover about 15 percent of the worlds land surface and contains about 25 percent of the carbon in terrestrial biosphere. The forest as the lung of the earth, providing the oxygen on which plants and animals survive has a vital role to play in any initiative to combat climate change.

Forests, according to researchers have the capacity to soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere thereby offsetting anthropogenic emission into the atmosphere and reducing the impact of climate change hazards on individuals, groups and the environment. Any effort that can provide compensation to local communities and assist in reducing emission from deforestation and degradation must be encouraged by state and local governments. The overall assessment is that the earth may be gradually going through stages of mass extinction. Great damages are being done to the web of life that bind the uncountable animal and plant species together.

The planet earth, stake holders agreed has been seriously misused and abused by human activities. Going by the views of the scientists, the evolutionists, the spiritualists, the creationists, and the philosophers, mankind by its crude technology was destined to develop to the stage of self destruction. Nature, the sage insists will certainly intervene to clean up the contaminated stage, either by a deluge or by an inferno. The circle of self termination, the legend says, comes up once in 12,000 years and it has been a consistent process for millions of years. The best mankind can do is to put mechanisms in place to ensure that the impacts when they do come are less painful.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) best prediction is that global temperature will rise by two percent centigrade in this century, the greatest earth warming in 10,000 years, enough to end the world civilization as we know it today. The fear is that there has been a lukewarm attitude on the part of the people, communities and governments in the developing countries towards providing adaptation and mitigation plans against climate change.

The climate change danger is real and it is frightening. The time to act is now, because when climate change avalanche has taken full steam, it may be difficult to stop the waves in any meaningful way.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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