World’s gamble with climate change

  • Warning signs: St Mark’s Square after severe flooding hit Venice, Italy, in November (Photograph by Luca Bruno/AP).

    Warning signs: St Mark’s Square after severe flooding hit Venice, Italy, in November (Photograph by Luca Bruno/AP).

Without dramatic adjustments in reducing dangerous emissions from massive operations throughout the world, within ten years scientists fear climate change could produce catastrophic results on a global scale.

It would seem we are talking about the latest fiction movie, but if powerful nations plough ahead in producing escalating levels of greenhouse gases — ignoring warnings from scientists — the outlook is gloomy.

There are sceptics who dismiss the issue of climate change as nothing new. However, ice in the Arctic continues to melt at an alarming rate from higher global temperatures. That water flows into oceans, resulting in higher sea levels that threaten low-lying land areas.

At the moment, there is no need to make a mad dash for the hills, but without immediate action to further curb dangerous emissions, scientists say that it could be too late within 30 or 40 years.

The latest United Nations report on climate change cites 20 of the world’s wealthiest nations as being responsible for 70 per cent of emissions that contribute to changing weather patterns, causing severe storms, along with droughts, especially in parts of Africa, where hundreds of people and animals scramble for water to survive.

Recently, a shocking BBC report revealed that in recent months, through drought, more than 200 elephants in Zimbabwe perished, unable to find water as a number of rivers vanished in scorching temperatures.

According to the report, the nation of Zimbabwe is in a crisis as officials seek solutions to a problem that is believed to be linked directly to climate change. Solving the problem will be a challenge because coal production has been cited in areas around the world as a significant contributor to changing atmospheric conditions. According to the BBC report, Zimbabwe relies on coal production to boost its economy.

An important factor in addressing climate change, according to a UN representative, is that without an international effort involving all nations, including America, Britain, France, Canada and Russia, a lone nation taking steps would have little effect in tackling the problem.

According to the latest UN report, powerful nations have failed to honour pledges to curb emission levels. That is a concern because it means emphasis is placed on economic growth instead of collectively trying to seek ways to cut emissions, which would slow the rate of climate change.

Recently, Venice experienced unprecedented high water levels, which disrupted much of its normal activity. The writing seems very clear on the wall that something is happening, leading to ocean levels rising.

Each year produces more powerful hurricanes capable of severe devastation and loss of life. Climate change should never be taken lightly. With political upheavals in so many countries, and people struggling in some regions trying to survive deadly violence, news services have a difficult time covering often dangerous global events while still maintaining a close watch on developments connected to climate change and the effect it is having around the world.

In addition to storms and droughts, there have been huge fires on an unimaginable scale, especially in California and Australia, with growing concern that higher temperature caused by climate change has been a factor.

Many are concerned that world leaders are not facing up to scientific data that shows clearly an urgent need to reduce emissions. Perhaps, with growing voices and demonstrations that demand these leaders acknowledge climate change, there may be a glimmer of hope that enough pressure can be applied with UN backing to force them to comply with emission restrictions.

Climate change is a real-life drama, with every citizen on Earth a member of the cast. The ocean floor could expand significantly as it swallows up more land from melting ice. If world leaders are to prevent the unimaginable, they will have to do more now.

The greatest risk could be in gambling that the scientists are wrong. Losing the battle to protect our environment is too big a gamble to take. There may not be a next time.

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Published Dec 27, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 29, 2019 at 1:40 pm)

World’s gamble with climate change

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