The Climate Skeptism And 450 Threshold

Jun 11th, 2013 | By | Category: Carbon, Development and Climate Change, Guest Speak, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Resilience, Vulnerability

Antonio-ClaparolsAntonio M. Claparols (Philippines): The recent news is that the 450-ppm threshold of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will be a reality soon. Is this cause for global alarm?

Yes, and it must be prevented from happening at all costs because it will raise global temperatures by 2 degrees Centigrade and lead to extreme droughts, floods, storms and typhoons—the “usual” calamities, but with more intensity and frequency.

And yes, the ice caps are melting even faster, strongly indicating the reality that is to come and that must not be ignored.

Consequential to such a scenario are widespread food shortages, extreme poverty, massive destruction of our habitats, and imbalance in our ecosystems. Biodiversity will decline to its worst, even to the extinction of more and more species. For all we know, it can lead to the extinction of our civilization!

The powerful tornadoes that leveled parts of Oklahoma in the United States are another sign of worse environmental disasters to come.

051912_0242_TheCarbonFo1.jpgIn fact, we are already experiencing strange weather patterns locally and globally as the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reportedly gone over 403 ppm.

In an article titled “Climate Skeptics Have Already Won” (The Financial Times, 5/22/13), Martin Wolf put it very well: “Humanity has decided to yawn and let the real and present dangers of climate change mount.”

How can we not totally agree with the author, considering that nothing has actually been done to mitigate and reduce the greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere?

Today, 30 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is directly due to humankind’s careless lifestyle. China was responsible for 24 percent of the global total emissions in 2000; the United States, 17 percent; and the Eurozone, 8 percent. But each Chinese emits only a third of that emitted by an American.

China’s catch-up growth is making this harder. What kind of growth does it want? A growth blanketed with dark toxic air in its capital, Beijing, or a growth that will give its people the quality of life that they deserve?

News reports suggest a number of steps to fight global warming and climate change. These are: Implement a “carbon tax” (or make polluters pay); impose really tough emission standards; create a secure global trade regime in low carbon fuels; develop ways of financing the transfer of the best available technology for creating and, more importantly, saving energy; and require governments to invest in research and early-stage innovation.

We have the technology for renewable energy, or at least Germany does at the cheapest cost. It’s a move worth emulating by the rest of the world.

We totally agree with the steps recommended. Sadly, none of them has been tackled by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Wolf mentioned two others: nuclear energy and geoengineering, which we strongly oppose. These are steps leading backward and comparative to comic-book solutions.

In dealing with global environmental threats, the answers we need are simply “classroom solutions.” All we need to do is put the brakes on so-called “development.” We should also go full-blast on renewable energy and change our present development model.

And also, work on how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from livestock, which release at least 51 percent of the total amount of greenhouse gases.

With these steps, we can begin to win the war against climate change. If we don’t take these steps, Wolf may be righcarboncyclet: We may have already lost.

We must not let ourselves be subjected to the destructive development model and settle with fence-sitting and watching the planet heat up. We must do everything to prevail and save our Mother Earth, men and women alike.

Climate change and global warming are genuine and concrete issues. If the worst calamities and catastrophes do not compel our leaders to act promptly against the ultimate destruction of our planet, not even their skepticism can be of use in the end.

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Antonio M. Claparols, is the President Ecological Society of the Philippines, sends this article for Climate Himalaya’s Guest Speak column which was also published in http://opinion.inquirer.net.  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 “The Climate Skeptism And 450 Threshold”

  1. Igor says:

    “And also, work on how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from livestock, which release at least 51 percent of the total amount of greenhouse gases.”

    Perhaps 51% of methane emissions, but not the total GHG?

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