The Front Page Issue: Global Warming
New Delhi: At last, Global Warming is a front page issue for the first time. Global concern about climate change has risen dramatically over the last six months and consumers increasingly expect their governments to act, according to a survey.
The survey by the Nielsen Company and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, found 42% of global online consumers believe governments should restrict companies' emission of carbondioxide and other pollutants.
All ten of the hottest years on record have been during the period 1990-2005. Average global surface temperatures have increased by 0.6°C ± 0.2°C over the 20th century. On a global scale, 1998 was the hottest year since records began in 1860 and 2005 was almost as warm.
The Key Fact shows smoothed global temperature anomalies since 1860 against the 1961-1990 average, based on 10-year moving averages. Studies of this trend show that it is statistically significant and is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin. In particular the strong warming of the last 50 years cannot be explained by natural climate variations alone, but requires the inclusion of the effects of human emissions.
Current climate models predict that global temperatures will rise by 1.4°C to 5.8°C over the period 1990 to 2100. However, research suggests that if the effects of climate change on the carbon cycle are included (which are not included in the estimates above) then there could be an additional 2°C warming over land by 2100.
Much of the observed rise of between 10 and 20 cm during the 20th century in global sea level may be related to the increase in global mean temperatures. Global mean sea levels are also predicted to rise by 9 cm to 88 cm between the years 1990 and 2100.
The work of the IPCC suggests that observed changes in regional climate over the past 50 years have already affected biological and hydrological systems in many parts of the world, for example species distributions and the timing of reproduction or migration events. There are also preliminary indications that some social and economic systems have been affected by recent increases in floods and droughts. Projections scenarios suggest further adverse effects of climate change will occur in the coming century for much of the world, and that the greater the cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases, the greater the scale of global warming will be.
According to the most recent IPCC report, some of the most substantial effects of climate change could include:
- increased threats to human health, particularly in lower income populations;
- increased extinction risk for some vulnerable species; decreased agricultural yield in many tropical and subtropical regions;
- heightened water shortages in many water-scarce areas of the world;
- further risk of storm and flooding damage in populations that inhabit small islands and low-lying coastal areas.
In general, the impacts of climate change will fall disproportionately upon developing countries and the poor persons within all countries. As a result, climate change will likely exacerbate inequalities in health status and access to adequate food, clean water, and other resources in these countries, which have the least capacity to adapt. But the UK will also be affected.
The atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, have increased since pre-industrial times from 280 part per million (ppm) to 377.5 ppm (2004 Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center), a 34% increase. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are the highest in 650, 000 years. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels, such as gasoline in an automobile or coal in a power plant generating electricity. Levels of atmospheric methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, have risen 145% in the last 100 years. Methane is derived from sources such as rice paddies, bovine flatulence, bacteria in bogs and fossil fuel production. The year 1999 was the fifth-warmest year on record since the mid-1800's; 1998 being the warmest year. According to Thomas Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center (NOAA), the current pace of temperature rise is "consistent with a rate of 5.4 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit per century." By comparison, the world has warmed by 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit since the depths of the last ice age, 18,000 to 20,000 years ago.
Leaders of G8 agreed on Thursday on the goal of halving dangerous greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in a landmark pact against global warning.
As member states wrangled over the final text, Bush took a conciliatory stance, staying the US was ready to take the leading role in a global bid to fight climate change but that India and China must join in. India, on this, reacted by saying that they will surely join the war against Global Warming but many developed countries emits more Greenhouse gases than developing countries. "India isn't responsible for global warming, but the country will do its part to fight climate change as long as the costs are shared fairly", a top diplomat said Tuesday before a trip to the G-8 summit in Germany.
In US, although up 7% in six months, still only 13% of citizens-who live in the country responsible for a quater of global emissions of the carbon dioxide- see climate change as one of their biggest worries.
Crucially, the environmental message is getting through in India and China - two of the world's largest and fastest growing polluters - while public anxiety in other large developing economies like Mexico and Brazil is intensifying.
Its still all messed up in the World. What is needed is Unity to win this game. This is one simple solution for all the bad things that are happening to humans since they came in existence.