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Climate won’t wait

FEW settings aptly capture the international community’s proclivity for deception than the debates about climate change. Little difference is expected at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change which started in Copenhagen, Denmark yesterday. It runs until December 18.


No country has pushed the deceit further than the United States of America, which under the guise of national interest has refused to ratify the 12-year-old Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The USA argues that drastic reduction in emission of the gases that are dangerous to the atmosphere especially carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), would hurt its industries and damage the USA’s economy.
The perilous gases are also known as greenhouse gases.

Countries like Australia, another big abuser of the atmosphere, have followed America’s bad example, while others like China and Russia for a long time ignored the debate. The emission of these gases studies have confirmed, results in climate changes like global warming, flooding.

Without accepting the Kyoto Protocol which it pretentiously promoted, the USA spent a lot of time raising concerns about the dangers of burgeoning industrialisation in China and India.

The 12 years since the Kyoto Protocol has been wasted in this subterfuge aimed solely diverting attention from America’s refusal to support the drastic changes required to halt climate change.

The refusal of the USA to make changes in its industrial emission delayed signatures to the Kyoto Protocol, which it must be admitted is almost useless. Only 55 countries have signed and it took over 10 years to produce that number of signatures.

Impact of climate change is rated worst for developing countries. Nigeria’s low coastlines, say the studies, make her susceptible to vast changes from flooding as the climate takes a battering from industrial wastes, including emissions from aircrafts.

Unfortunately, African interest in the conference might be minimal. African governments are unfamiliar with the dangers of climate change and their impact on their policies. They may also be unable to bear costs of maintaining delegations in Copenhagen for weeks.

Copenhagen was doomed before it started. The European Union which is most forthcoming with readiness to make changes, said its changes would be conditional. It has planned a phased cut in its emissions, payment of 15 billion Euros annually from 2013 to developing countries which bear the brunt of the emissions, all subject to other countries making changes. There are disagreements even within the EU.

Former Eastern European countries that are revving into industralisation think the deal would adversely affect them.

World leaders must note that climate change cannot be wished away. Changes required to reverse climate change have been articulated. What is left is the political will to make it happen.

Ignoring urgent measures to save the earth promotes doom. The doomsday cannot be postponed indefinitely.


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