Climate change has arrived as a serious threat to our existence. If necessary steps are not taken with immediate effect the situation could well develop into an environmental catastrophe. And we could well be in the verge of facing fatal consequences like acute water scarcity, epidemics, agricultural failures, and flooding of coastal areas. An estimated 100 million people could lose their homes due to floods and millions can die due to spread of malaria.
Based on the scientific evidence presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Development Programme’s report sees a small window of opportunity for limiting this natural disaster. According to the report, developed countries should slash carbon emissions at least by 30-40% by 2030, and by 80% within 2050. However, the developing countries too must shoulder responsibility to a certain extent for safeguarding the environment.
Though the Kyoto Protocol which called for voluntary cuts in emissions is set to expire in 2012, achieving the above mentioned target percentages is not an impossible task. This can be made possible through stringent implementation of efficiency measures in industry and by encouraging renewable energy through economic incentives. Today, the gap between scientific evidence and political response from the world’s richest and developed countries is still a considerable one. The future generation and the poorer section of the world cannot afford this difference.
And according to the Human Development Report (HDR), global warming will destroy the sources of livelihood for poor people in Asia, Africa and South America. The world’s richest countries simply can’t stand aside and watch the hopes and aspirations of millions get shattered by increased exposure to the risks and vulnerabilities that will come with natural calamities. The time has come for the developed countries to take the main responsibility for controlling emissions in order to fight climate change.
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