Why Are We Not Winning The War Against Climate Change

May 27th, 2013 | By | Category: Adaptation, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Capacity Development, Climatic Changes in Himalayas, Disaster and Emergency, Disasters and Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Events, Food, Forest, Governance, Government Policies, Guest Speak, International Agencies, Land, Lessons, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Migration, Mitigation, Opinion, Resilience, UNFCCC, Vulnerability, Water

Antonio-ClaparolsAntonio M. Claparols (Philippines): Think about it. Ours is a country so rich with natural resources, strategically located at the center of the Coral Triangle and blessed with species of which only  10-20% are said to be discovered. Imagine how many of the undiscovered species may have gone extinct and how the discovered ones are declining  by existence. Well, there seems to be nothing new with regards to the environmental problems we have  and the way climate change is manifesting itself on the people, species and planet.

As I write this, the United States is victim to hurricanes and typhoons. Asia, specifically Bangladesh, is being drowned by strong typhoons and rains.The rest  of Asia are not spared.

It is only the month of  May but rainy season in our country is starting earlier than usual, alongside the scourging heat with temperatures reaching 37-degree-centigrade level with a real feel of more than 45 degrees.

How much longer can we take all these pressures? How many more people must die? How many more towns and cities all over the world must be victims of global warming and climate change before our leaders act sensibly? Sadly, the next Conference of Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prioritizes its agenda on geo-engineering as a solution to climate change.

It is a move that is bound to be futile such move is tantamount to  changing the nature of our planet. Among those considered questionable is their option to  put mirrors in space to deflect the sun’s heat.

A worker walks past as a house damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy is demolished by heavy machinery in the Ocean Breeze neighborhood of Staten Island in New York City, January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A worker walks past as a house damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy is demolished by heavy machinery in the Ocean Breeze neighborhood of Staten Island in New York City, January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

It seems they intend to redirect the atmospheric carbon dioxide to outer space? If that is not a perspective of an irrational mind, I am not sure how can one call that as decently as possible!

It is a theory not only out-of-tune. It is careless , thereby another experimental step that is already a complete failure at the onset ! Perhaps something  to add on the list of their other failed attempts to combat climate change. They never learn from history!

Unfortunately, as they continue with their obstinacy, we are all caught in the middle of escalating climate change issues.

The real victims are those who are suffering from drought, famine, lack of clean and potable water, lack of accessibility to healthy food and decent  lifestyle, socio-economic inequalities, to name a few.

With this kind of thinking, there seems to be no real intention to mitigate and reduce greenhouse gasses (GHG). There seems to be no real commitment to reduce and mitigate climate change.

On the contrary, what the leaders are stubbornly  adhering to these  is this  development model that started during the   Industrial Revolution.

Ironically,the said development model ,with all its ‘bracketed rights and broken promises’, is  now responsible for the destruction of both the ecology and the economics of the world .

Despite the ineffective ‘development model’, leaders continue to be its biggest fans since they refuse to change their approach in combating climate change.

Their  attitude as leaders is clearly stemming from obstinacy and ignorance on the very root cause and eventual catastrophic consequences of the environmental issues they deal with.

I could surmise that it is either they are much convinced that the present development model will be effective in due time ( which I know will never be) or they actually have no other alternatives to offer us.

What is wrong with our global leaders? Don’t they feel the increasing heat in global temperature? Don’t they see the floods,typhoons,hurricanes and strange weather patterns?

Are they  not supposed to act with urgency in this battle against global warming and with the very aim to prevent it from worsening?

052512_0214_AsianCities1.pngGlobalization and the present development model has failed. As I had underscored so often, more countries are suffering from austerity measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund. That, for one, is what their development model is doing to us.

Meanwhile, recent Reuters  report said  that : ‘With power generation still dominated by coal and governments failing to increase investment in clean energy, top climate scientists have said that the target of keeping the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius this century is slipping out of reach.”

The  atmospheric carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is nearing beyond the 400-ppm-threshold. Should that happen, and we pray not, more climatic changes will occur with the veracity and strength that will destroy our civilization, as we know it.

This is not doom-saying.We must all know what happened to the Easter Island civilization  gone extinct to understand more. We cannot allow this to happen to our own civilization.

Many Asian countries are already manifesting the effects of climate change, like the climate-exacerbated Typhoon Bopha that struck the Philippines last year. Above, a mother and child navigate the resulting floods in Laguna, where ACT Alliance is assisting affected communities.  ACT Alliance/Paul Jeffrey

Many Asian countries are already manifesting the effects of climate change, like the climate-exacerbated Typhoon Bopha that struck the Philippines last year. Above, a mother and child navigate the resulting floods in Laguna, where ACT Alliance is assisting affected communities.
ACT Alliance/Paul Jeffrey

What can  our tribal leaders do? They have been living in harmony with nature since the beginning of time. Today they have no control of the effects of global warming and climate change. Their forewarnings were not heeded to and perhaps even not considered at all,because their wisdom comes from the primitive approach.

Well, I should say, primitive as they were, but more logical,simple and yet effective because at the onset, their ways are protective of our environment.

As I write this, our water resources are running dry but leaders still want to dam more rivers. It leads to a scenario that turns our resources from a blessing to a curse,considering the increasing occurrences of our forest trees being felled.

Our  agricultural lands are losing their top soil , causing them to  turn to deserts.

Our oceans absorb more than 25% percent of carbon dioxide and give us the needed oxygen for life. The only ones that may be left to occupy the seas are the jelly fish since they thrive in low oxygen and acidic water.

Our oceans are victims of ocean acidification destroying countless species. The PH content of our seas have turned acidic and a time will come that they will no longer be able to sustain our marine resources of which we rely so much on for food.

Yet, they want to mine our oceans and extract more minerals in a world were the economy has not improved but has slowed down.

How can we expect our rivers to hold more water so we can enjoy the blessing? Instead of finding ways to protect our rivers, damming is their option?

What will happen to our food security and our oceans the last frontier? Poverty will continue to rise and more Arab springs will be brewing. Why don’t these  leaders implement  circular economy,recycling and renewable energy options now being pursued by some countries such as  Germany?

Why don’t they use barter system and have night markets ,like those in Baguio City,which make the local economies move without destroying the environment?

Barter system has always been effective as a business model since the beginning of time. We need to buy localA family from Davao that is staying put post-floods -- illegallyly and not globally to rid the business model of high transportation cost. Comparative advantage and self-sufficiency must also be considered.

Where lies now the insistence of these leaders to go on with their development model?

Is it greed and lust for Power? Is it ignorance and stupidity:

These are the same leaders who  insist on the addiction to oil and coal as their preferred options. As long as our biodiversity is intact and our natural resources are in pristine shape as they were , there is no doubt we can survive.

If there is one sure stop to decrease the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, it is through legal means. The global  polluters must be tried in the international courts with crimes against humanity. They should be compelled to stop polluting the earth!

We must act with vigilance!  They must be stopped NOW! There are so many actual and genuine solutions  which our planet can gain  a new life from.

That if the leaders now are  not setting their eyes on the only profit they seem
to know: the profit spelled as ‘money’.

Should that be the case, we need not blink to think: our planet’s life calendar will surely run out of days to count in due time.

Was the war against climate change lost then, long before it was started? It’s our turn to repel such belief!

A battle half-met is a battle half-won.

——————————
Antonio M. Claparols, is the President Ecological Society of the Philippines, writes this article for Climate Himalaya’s Guest Speak column.  Born in Manila, Philippines in 1952, Antonio received an MBA from Arthur D. Little MEI, Cambridge, MA in 1982 and published two books; ‘For Our Children” and “Treaties Amongst Peoples” (1994) and was a contributor for IMPACT magazine “Ecological Minute” column (1979 – 2000). He is President & CEO of JRS Business Corporation and an active IUCN Member since 1979. Antonio was an elected IUCN Councillor in Montreal 1996 & 2000 and is a member of IUCN Commission on Environmental Economic and Social Policy (CEESP). He was the member of the Philippine delegation to World Parks Congress in Durban, 2003. Antonio established sustainable forest, mangrove planting/protection and organic aqua-culture projects in the island of Negros in Philippines.  Apart from being a father and a businessman Antonio is a scuba diver, an underwater photographer and a farmer. He can be contacted at jamc@mozcom.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Himalaya Initiative’s team.

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One Comment to “Why Are We Not Winning The War Against Climate Change”

  1. Chandra Lal Pandey says:

    Well, it is a nice article–trying to convince that every natural disaster that is happening around the world is related with climate change. Of course, climate change could be the intensifier but natural disasters such as floods, landslides, drought etc. were with us since time memorable. However, I absolutely agree that if we can, we should try to minimize the impacts of climate change to abate its role of intensifier. Another important thing to note here is the offer of such as shallow solution–the writer notes that governments should be tried at international court for crime against humanity. This argument seems to be political statement without any substance in it. In the world of anarchy where each state is recognized as so called sovereign state– who can try whom?–Actually no state can try any state. We have already seen the biggest failure of UN system and particularly in the case of climate change. In such situation, somebody argues that states can be tried, cannot be anything but just another politically charged statement. If we are really serious about bringing a change–a more environmentally friendly world, we do not need to wage war with guns but we need to change the drivers of the problem–change in our thinking to impact on socio-cultural and politico-economy aspects of modern world. But we have failed to do this so far because of the deceptive notions of North-South politics of climate change. We know the western governments have failed us but we are also equally responsible because we are not at all willing to change our behaviour. Our countries are exactly following the same models of development that were practised by North for their development. See Nepal, we are the second richest countries of world in water resources but we use more electricity/power produced by diesel than from our water resources. Look at Kathmandu, the automobiles are passion of people–where is the willingness of our people for the change? So, is the case of Philippines. The role model should be begun from somewhere–we can see after sea of pollution and immense magnitude of GHGs emissions, China is trying to be role model now but we do not see the same things happening in our country. We and our leaders talk rubbish as we note we emit less emissions in comparison to the West so we can emit. Let’s start changing our mental set, our bahaviours and make ourselves ready to “change the system for climate change” in stead of delivering politically charged ideas of trying the US or Canada in the ICJ because it is never going to happen.

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