Sunday, November 16, 2008

Slump heat on global warming

What does the financial meltdown mean for melting glaciers? The jury is still out but the signs aren’t positive.

Countering climate change is costly and the financial crisis is almost certain to affect funds flow to environmental bodies.

“I’m absolutely sure that climate change will be the last thing people will think about at this point in time,” said R.K. Pachauri, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with former US Vice-President Al Gore, recently.

He felt that discussions on global warming had been put “on the back burner” after the downturn in global economy. The slump is already threatening Europe’s ambitious plans to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, with governments reluctant to burden companies with additional financial load.

However, damage control exercises are also underway. Environment ministers and senior environmental officials from more than 30 countries, including India and the US, recently met in Warsaw, Poland, ahead of a major climate conference in December. The delegates agreed the financial crisis should not halt efforts to fight global warming.

“There was a consensus that the current financial turmoil should not be an excuse to slow down action on climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Experts pointed out that addressing climate change immediately could also deliver important economic benefits.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Global warming fund sought


Storm surges

Carbon emission is largely blamed for global warming, which refers to the increase in the average temperature of the air and oceans since the mid-20th century. This leads to a continuing rise in sea levels.

Legarda said rising sea temperatures could lead to stronger and more frequent storm surges and, as a result, more disasters.

“If we are aware of hazards posed by nature, we are more prepared to react and respond to possible hazards and thus reduce risks,” she said.

The Manila Declaration listed steps to reduce disasters, such as increased public awareness, implementation of disaster reduction policies and actions, partnerships between government and private sectors, and improved scientific knowledge.

“Industrialized countries have a historical responsibility for climate change and are morally obliged to financially and technologically assist developing countries in their efforts to reduce their vulnerability and adapt to its consequences, while reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions,” it said. End.