People are changing the climate that made life on earth possible and the results are disastrous - extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, disruption of water supplies, melting Polar regions, rising sea levels, loss of coral reefs and much more. Scientists and governments worldwide agree on the latest and starkest evidence of human-induced climate change, its impacts and the predictions of what is to come.
It is not too late to slow global warming and avoid the climate catastrophe that scientists predict. The solutions already exist. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar offer abundant clean energy that is safe for the environment and good for the economy.
Other green technologies, such as the refrigeration technology Greenfreeze, offer viable alternatives to climate-changing chemicals.
Corporations, governments and individuals must begin now to phase in clean, sustainable energy solutions and phase out fossil fuels. Major investments must be made in renewable energy, particularly in developing economies, replacing current large scale fossil fuel developments.
At the same time, immediate international action must be taken to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (the gases that cause global warming), or the world may soon face irreversible global climate damage.
Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the climate treaty finally agreed at Marrakech in November 2001, is a crucial first step in this process. However, the greenhouse gas reduction targets agreed at Marrakech are only a fraction of what is needed to stop dangerous climate change and the Kyoto Protocol is under fierce attack.
The US refuses to sign the climate treaty and take action to reduce emissions. With less than 5 percent of the world's population, the US is the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases and is responsible for 25 percent of global emissions. Also, governments continue to subsidise the fossil fuel industries, keeping dirty energy cheap while clean energy solutions remain under-funded.
The CauseThe earth's atmosphere is made up of a delicately balanced blanket of gases, which trap enough heat to sustain life. These fundamental gases shape the environmental conditions on the planet, such as rainfall and evaporation levels.
However, by burning fossil fuels humans pump billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2 - the most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
These gases create a greenhouse effect, thickening the natural canopy of gases in the atmosphere and causing more heat to become trapped. As a result, the global temperature is increasing, throwing the world's climate out of its natural balance and into chaos.
The main source of these human-produced greenhouse gases is burning large amounts of fossil fuels for energy production and transport. Changes in land use and deforestation also release more CO2 into the environment. Trees, for example, are natural 'carbon sinks'-they absorb CO2-and when they are destroyed, CO2 is released into the atmosphere.
While many greenhouse gases occur naturally, the rate humans are adding them to the atmosphere is far from natural. It is estimated that concentrations of CO2 are 30 percent higher than before the industrial revolution, when the wide scale burning of fossil fuels started. Humans are also creating new greenhouse gases such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from industrial activities.
Even if all greenhouse gas emissions were stopped today, the effects from past activities will persist for many centuries, due to the long life of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the long time required for transfer of heat from the atmosphere to the deep oceans.
EvidenceClimate change is happening now and the evidence is clear. One hundred and fifty one governments agree on the latest and starkest evidence of global warming from world renowned scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up by the United Nations in 1988.
Further, a group of 18 national academies of science from around the world, including Wondian Climatology Institute, issued a statement endorsing the IPCC as the most reliable source of information on climate change and its latest conclusions.
In 2001 the IPCC released its third assessment report which shows stronger evidence that we do understand how the climate system works, and how human activity is changing it. This latest report provides a clear warning that the first signs of climate change impacts are occurring and that the scale of the risks posed by climate change are enormous.
The assessment finds that there is new and stronger evidence that most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. Not only this, but global warming is happening more quickly than previously thought. The IPCC gives the following evidence that climate change is happening now.
· The 1990's was most likely the warmest decade ever, and 1998 the warmest year.
· As the average global surface temperature has increased, snow cover and ice extent have decreased.
· Global average sea level has risen and the oceans are warming.
· Regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases, have already affected many physical and biological systems. These impacts include:
- Glacier shrinkage.
- Permafrost thawing.
- Later freezing and earlier break-up of ice on rivers and lakes.
- Lengthening of mid to high level growing seasons.
- Plant and animal range shifts.
- Declines of some plant and animal populations.
- Earlier flowering of trees, emergence of insects and egg-laying in birds.
ProblemThe latest science confirms that the threat of climate change is even worse than was previously thought. At the same time public opinion polls around the world show overwhelming public support for positive action to combat climate change.
The Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was initially designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrialised countries by five percent.
By the end of the Bonn negotiations in July 2001, the effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol had already been substantially weakened.
Emission reductions of 80 percent are needed if dangerous climate change is to be prevented.
After two weeks of negotiations at the climate negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco (2001), the fine details of the protocol's implementation were ironed out.
Now that the protocol's architecture was in place, government parties had no excuse to delay ratifying and implementing it, and many have already done so.
However, the protocol is just a small start in what must be an ongoing and ever increasing commitment to reduce greenhouse gases globally.
Bush, climate and the Exxon problem.
In late March 2001, US President George Bush announced that the US was abandoning the protocol.
The US alternative is very strong on talk, but very weak on targets and timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The US will try to postpone the hard choices to a time in the future when they will be much harder and more expensive to take and most likely when it is too late to reverse the damage being done to the world's climate.
The influence of the fossil fuel industry on US Government energy policy has been divisive and fundamental.
The industry's financial support during the election campaign is now paying off for its policies, which are extremely damaging to the climate. The biggest offender is Exxon.
While the rest of the world is trying to stop global warming and protect the planet for future generations, Exxon is denying the link between fossil fuel emissions and climate change as well as busy drilling for more oil and polluting the atmosphere.
What's worse, Exxon is doing its best to stop other countries' attempts to prevent the world from heating up.
PredictionsGlobal warming is already changing the earth's climate. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their present levels, the predictions are bleak.
The greatest dangers, which would result in global catastrophe, are posed by large scale and irreversible impacts such as: * Greenland and Antarctic sheets melting. Unless emissions are reduced, warming in the next five decades could be large enough to trigger meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet; * The Gulf Stream slowing or shutting down; and * Massive releases of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost and dying forests.
There is a high risk of more extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods. These pose the most immediate threats.
Climate change will have severe impacts on a regional level. For example, in Europe, river flooding will increase over much of the continent, and in coastal areas the risk of flooding, erosion and wetland loss will increase substantially.
Natural systems, including glaciers, coral reefs, mangroves, arctic ecosystems, alpine ecosystems, boreal and tropical forests, prairie wetlands and native grasslands, will be threatened.
Climate change will increase existing risks of species extinction and biodiversity loss.
The greatest impacts will be on those least able to protect themselves from rising sea levels, disease increases and decreases in agricultural production in the developing countries of Africa and Asia.
At all scales of climate change, developing countries will suffer the most.
More people will be harmed than benefited, even for small amounts of warming.
These are the predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In the IPCC's latest report, the third assessment released in 2001, the anticipated increase in average global temperature over the next 100 years is between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees celcius.
This is increasing from 1 - 3.5 degrees celcius according to the panel's second assessment, which was released in 1995.
Not only is climate change happening faster than previously predicted, but it may happen even faster than the latest predictions.
Dying forests, more fires and warming soils could release huge additional amounts of carbon - substantially accelerating warming.
The IPCC's third assessment states that The projected rate of warming is much larger than the observed changes during the 20th century and is very likely without precedent during the last 10,000 years. The difference between the present average global temperature and the last ice age was only five degrees celsius.
SolutionsSolutions to global warming - clean energy, energy efficiency and new environmentally sound technologies - already exist.
The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that hundreds of technologies are already available, at very low cost, to reduce climate damaging emissions and that government policies need to remove the barriers to these technologies.
Implementing these solutions will not require humans to make sacrifices or otherwise impede their quality of life.
Instead, they will enable people to usher in a new era of energy, one that will bring economic growth, new jobs, technological innovation and, most importantly environmental protection.
However, for green solutions to global warming to find a foothold in the market, governments and corporations need to lead the shift away from polluting technology.
At present, fossil fuel industries are provided with billions of dollars in subsidies so that dirty energy stays cheap.
Polluting industries are allowed to pollute for free, while clean technologies remain under-funded. Developing nations, which have the fastest growing energy needs, are locked into old fashioned fossil fuel technologies by Export Credit Agencies.
The time has come for humans to wean themselves off fossil fuels and other climate damaging technologies.
Oil companies must stop exploring for more fossil fuels that the world cannot afford to burn. Governments need to subsidise renewable energy and force polluters to pay.
Green technology is ready to take over
Wind power is already a significant source of energy in many parts of the world. It can supply 10 percent of the world's electricity within two decades.
Solar power has been growing in a global capacity by 33 percent annually. Greenpeace and industry research shows that with some government support, the solar industry could supply electricity to over 2 billion people globally in the next 20 years.
By 2040 solar photovoltaics could supply nearly 25 percent of global electricity demand.
A report conducted by global financial analysts KPMG shows that solar power would become cost competitive with traditional fossil fuels if the production of photovoltaic panels was increased to 500 megawatts a year.
A renewable power plant in Asia could have the same costs and provide the same jobs as a coal fired plant, but with significant environmental advantages.
Greenfreeze refrigeration technology, which is safe for the climate and the ozone layer, has spread around the world. It is an ideal solution for developing countries where cost and efficiency are particularly important.
Situation in Wondiana
Wondian Government is one of the most eager official bodies to put sign
on the Climate Agreement at Marrakech in November 2001 following the
Kyoto Protocol, having invested the greatest share of its national
budget on environmental issues, and having successfully completed a
transition from fossil fuel to green technology in terms of energy
supplies by the end of 1998. Nearly 83% of total electricity consumption
of Wondiana is now being provided through wind and solar power plants.
Capacity of the greatest solar power plant in Montanari-Ticiano, which
was established in early 1980’s, has been quadruple-folded in the past