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Global Dialogue 2007: building global communities for all life
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Building global communities for all life Global Dialogue 2007: building global communities for all life

Climate change adaptation

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Protect photosynthesis: less CO2 , more Oxygen and better health for all of us. Protection of the global life-support systems Climate change prelude Climate change: responsibility and accountability of cities

There are two fundamental types of response to the risks of climate change:

1.       reducing the rate and magnitudes of change through mitigating the causes, and
2.       reducing the harmful consequences through anticipatory adaptation.

Mitigating the causes of global warming implies limiting the rates and magnitudes of increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, either by reducing emissions or by increasing sinks for atmospheric CO2. We know that stabilizing emissions of greenhouse gases will not stabilize concentrations. While slowing the rate of increase in atmospheric concentrations, such actions will still likely lead to a doubled CO2-type environment within the next century. Considering the residence time of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a reduction of 10% in methane emissions would be required to stabilize methane concentrations, reductions in excess of 50% would be required to stabilize CO2 and N2O emissions, and virtual elimination of emissions would be needed to stabilize concentrations of very long-lived gases such as fully fluorinated compounds.

Scientists will also need to become more involved in assessing the viability of response options aimed at storing excess carbon in terrestrial or ocean systems. Land use changes from agricultural to forest ecosystems can help to remove carbon from the atmosphere at rates of 2 to 20 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year for periods of 50 years or more, until a new ecosystem equilibrium is reached. Similarly, soil conservation practices can help build up carbon reservoirs in forest and agricultural soils. Proposals to extract CO2 from smoke stacks and dispose of it in liquid form in underground reservoirs or deep oceans also need careful evaluation in terms of long-term feedbacks, effectiveness and environmental acceptability. However, much remains to be learned about the biological and physical processes by which terrestial and ocean systems can act as sinks and permanent reservoirs for carbon.

The Global Community can contribute in evaluating options and strategies for adapting to climate change as it occurs, and in identifying human activities that are even now maladapted to climate. For example, identification of tree species that can grow well under current as well as projected future climates will help develop reforestation programs that are less vulnerable to both climate variability and change. Genetically improved species can be developed to replace the weakess species. Assessment of the role of agricultural subsidies and disaster relief programs in actually encouraging farmers to cultivate lands which are highly susceptible to droughts or floods can improve the adaptability of the agricultural sector. Alternatively, developing socio-economic activities that can thrive under anticipated climate changes can help realize some of the benefits of climate change. Collectively, such actions will help reduce human vulnerability to climate change, and hence raise the threshold at which such change becomes dangerous.

We need to improve on our ability to:

*    predict future anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. While demographic, technological and economic factors are in many respects inherently speculative, better observations and understanding of the processes by which human activities directly or indirectly contribute to emissions are clearly required. These in particular include emissions from deforestation and agricultural activities;

*     obtain more data on the effect of human emissions on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Not only do we need to reduce the uncertainties about past and current sinks for emitted greenhouse gases, but we need to better understand and quantify the long term feedbacks such as CO2 fertilization and physical and biological response to climate change if we expect to improve our confidence in projections of future concentrations.

*     measure direct and indirect effects of radiative forcing of greenhouse gases and aerosols.

*     measure climate sensitivity to changes in radiative forcing.

*     measure the response to climate change of biological and physical processes with the terrestrial and ocean systems

*     obtain an early detection of the signal of human interference with the climate system against the change caused by natural forces or internal system noise is important in fostering timely and responsible coping actions.

*     develop actions to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and prepare to adapt to climate change. However, stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions will not stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations and climate but only slow down the rates of change.

*     live with the facts that climate change is unavoidable, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are already signficantly higher than pre-industrial levels, and that aggressive efforts to reduce their anthropogenic emission sources would only slow down the growth in their concentrations, not stop it. Therefore, policy response to this issue must also include strategies to adapt to the consequences of unavoidable climate change.

The Global Community has created a global ministry to help humanity be prepared to fight the harmful consequences of a global warming through anticipatory adaptation. The global ministries on climate change and emergencies have now been developed and are operating.

The ministries have developed:

1.     policy response to the consequences of the global warming, and

2.     strategies to adapt to the consequences of the unavoidable climate change.

It is a priority for businesses to apply for one ECO, your Certified Corporate Global Community Citizenship, a unique way to show the world your ways of doing business are best for the Global Community. You can obtain the citizenship after accepting the Criteria of the Global Community Citizenship and following an assessment of your business.The process shown here is now standardized to all applicants. You are then asked to operate your business as per the values of the citizenship.

There are approaches to limit and regulate the pollution emissions of industrial activities. These are standards, taxes and pollution permits. The choice among these alternatives depends on the administrative structure of a nation.

In an urban community site, air usually contains materials such as nitric oxide, sulfur oxide, carbon monoxide, aldehydes, dust and many others.

A city would have a department measuring indicators and indices in order to:

a)     Provide a daily report to the public

b)     Define air pollution in terms of the amount of pollution created by polluters

c)     Define air quality in all parts of the city

d)     Measure progress toward air quality goals

e)     Propose abatement steps

f)     Alarm the public in case of danger

g)     Provide data to researchers

h)     Provide information for compliance

i)     Make intelligent decisions with regard to priorities of programs toward environmental improvement

The Global Community makes the following recommendations to alleviate the effects of climate change in the world:

*     Introduction of appropriate sustainable agricultural system with balanced use of chemical fertilizers incorporated organic minerals and green manure's.

*     Phase wise replacement of chemical fertilizer by organic fertilizer. Similarly biodegradable insecticide should be replace by the non-biodegradable insecticides.

*     The entrepreneur should take proper mitigation measures of industrial pollution by set-up of industrial waste treatment plant.

*     Control of insect, pests through biological, natural process, alternatives of using harmful insecticides or fungicides is important to introduce.

*     Promotion of research activities in the field of industrial waste utilization and waste recovery process.

*     Re-utilization of agricultural residues through bio-conservation to industrial products.

*     Need proper implementation of Environmental Policy, Environment Conservation Act’s and Legislation.

*     Enhancement of the capacity of NGOs, Govt. agencies to successfully implement poverty alleviation program including non-formal education on environmental pollution awareness.

*     Immediate and honest actions by the USA, Russia, Japan and Canada, and all countries in resolving the problems creating the greenhouse gases. The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the implementation of measurable positive actions to resolve the problems of global warming.

*     The support of the Climate Change Ministry.

The Global Community has introduced measures in the following areas to reduce GHG emissions.

Government leadership – set aggressive GHG reduction targets for provincial facilities and vehicle fleets, enforce standards for major building projects;

Urban land use – use tax shifting to discourage sprawl and favour more compact, transit-oriented communities; develop a policy to promote shared energy systems; and work with municipalities to provide incentives and tools for encouraging GHG reduction targets in official community plans and regional strategies by 2005;

Transportation – implement increased funding of transit and strategic road improvements, California-style vehicle emission standards for cars, higher emission standards for light to heavy duty trucks, and incentives to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles and lower GHG fuels;

Buildings – establish phased-in energy performance standards, with a revolving fund for energy efficiency upgrades, provincial tax relief for the purchase of sustain-able products and equipment, and other supporting policies;

Electricity – adopt a GHG emission standard and offset requirement for thermal power generation that is coordinated with the federal government and builds on the province’s current energy efficiency and clean energy objectives;

Natural gas – develop an efficient and harmonized regulatory, fiscal, and land access framework to facilitate expansion of natural gas production consistent with sustainability; and tax or other incentives to reduce fugitive emissions and to promote acid gas reinjection into depleted reservoirs for disposing of CO2 emissions;

Fuel cells – prepare a strategic plan to grow BC’s world leading fuel cell cluster; make a long-term provincial commitment to the hydrogen economy; and ensure active government participation in private and public sector fuel cell demonstrations;

Forest products – establish incentives to encourage energy from biomass; targets and support for afforestation and reforestation projects; and policies to prevent deforestation (all consistent with international carbon accounting protocols); and

Aluminum (and other sectors) – negotiate voluntary binding agreements for GHG emission reduction with the aluminum smelting and other industry sectors that are harmonized with federal initiatives.

In the light of the U.S.A., Japan, Australia and Russia refusal of taking actions to avert certain global calamity in regard to global warming, and the lack of a strong commitment from India, China and Indonesia, the Global Community has decided to pleade the people of these countries to reason and good sense. We are asking them to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and to plan for strong actions to stop greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, and temperatures are rising globally due to these activities.

Canada is willing to reach the Kyoto target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 6 per cent below the 1990 level.

The European Union leaders have agreed to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol by the end of this year. Let us hope that the action plan they will offer to the world will be real and honest.

The Global Community has created the Climate Change Ministry and offer national governments to coordinate efforts in implementing the Global Community Action Plan with regard to climate change. There are thousands of actions everyone in the Global Community could take right now. Several more of these actions were listed in the Proceedings of the World Congress on Managing and Measuring Sustainable Development - Global Community Action 1 held on August 1-22, 2000.

Positive actions:

A)     By increasing vegetation in urban areas will reduce the urban heat, and the impacts of other urban environmental problems, which will be exacerbated under climate change. Reducing the urban heat will also reduce the energy demand for space conditioning, and hence greenhouse gas emissions. Plants directly reduce the urban heat through evaporative cooling but further reduce energy consumption through shading. The most common strategy to increase urban vegetation is to plant trees at ground level. However, where space is not available for trees, vegetation can be grown on building roofs, but walls offer far more space, hence vertical gardening is a viable alternative. 

B)     Aboriginal Peoples as well as everyone else in the world have noticed that the climate has changed over the past years. They came forward (actions) and said that they too had observed climate changes over the past years and generations. In some countries the temperature has increased by one or two degrees and natural catastrophes are becoming more and more frequent. Flooding or freshwater scarcity as well as water pollution are harming the environment of the Third World and developing countries and water and air pollution characterizes the industrialized regions. Therefore, poor and rich regions are facing a common problem which is linked to climate change, that's why we should negotiate honestly and find a compromise as quickly as possible. If no solution is suggested, developing countries like China will repeat the same mistakes as the developed world. In fact, the latter can expect a higher salary, which will close the gap between rich and poor regions. 

World industrial activity is now profoundly affecting the atmospheric environment. It is now the population number and industrialization that makes the major impacts on the atmosphere. The most important changes affecting the atmosphere are due to the growth in the burning of fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels increases carbon dioxide concentrations and air pollutants. The clearing of forested lands for agriculture and other purposes has reduced the amount of carbon absorbed by the forests and contributed to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. We have disturbed a fragile balance by causing chemical changes in the global atmosphere.

The most devastating effects of contamination of the atmosphere on a global scale include:

*     An increase in greenhouse gas concentrations brought the warming of the climate;
*     Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer;
*     Acidification of lakes and forests; and
*     Toxic chemicals have contaminated our food chain on the land and in the waters.

The most sophisticated climate models take into account factors such as:

*     The changes in the radiation balance of the Earth;
*     Contamination of the atmosphere;
*     Greenhouse gas concentrations;
*     Absorption of heat by the oceans;
*     The ice and snow fields;
*     The hydrological cycle of precipitation; and
*     The melting of glaciers and the Greenland ice cap.

A consequence of a warmer climate is a rise in global mean sea-level. Several countries will be more susceptible to inundations. We will see hundreds of millions of environmental refugees searching for land.

The mid-latitude wheat belts of the planet will dry; forest fires will wipe out most of the forests; world food markets will have to adjust to help a starving population. 

Tourism and wildlife in the tropics will be seriously affected by a temperature that is just too hot.

Tropical diseases will cause epidemics.

Major changes in evaporation and precipitation patterns will not adjust quickly enough to supply the population with water it needs to survive; agriculture will become a dying industry either because of too much water or not enough of it.

Sub-Arctic communities will disappear because of the melting of the permafrost.

It is well known that biological communities of the waters and of the land absorb and bio-accumulate toxic contaminants through the food webs. Trace concentrations deposited by the atmosphere have become harmful. They are chemicals carried through the atmosphere to seas, rivers, lakes and other streams, and subsequently into sediments and soils. Metals and chemical contaminants can be absorbed for a long time, and are in fact chemical 'time bombs'. 

Urban air pollution is a mixture of several pollutants emitted from different energy and industrial processes, and of secondary pollutants in the atmosphere. Some air pollutants are more important than others. At a given concentration some pollutants are more toxic or more unpleasant. Pollutants have different effects related to health, ecosystems,  economics and aesthetic.

C)     Tropical tree plantations may be an important component of the global carbon cycle because they represent a carbon sink that can be manipulated by humans and they ca mitigate the effects of tropical deforestation, which is the main biotic source of atmospheric carbon. Most forest plantations in the tropics are planted with fast growing trees that culminate in volume and biomass production earlier than natural forests. These high biomass production forests have a high capacity to sequester atmospheric CO2 and hence assist in mitigating global warming. Sequestration of CO2 in plantations occurs in tree biomass (stems, branch, foliage and roots), forest floor and as storage in the soil. Young growing forests are one of the best means to removing CO2 (the gas partially responsible for the greenhouse effect) from the air. Thus planting forests help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air (by the action of sunlight on the green chlorophyll organic compound, CO2 is absorbed by trees through the small fissures in the leaves or needless, these gases are fixed as biomass).

D)     Ever-increasing anthropogenic releases of greenhouse gases are driving the United Nations Climate Change effort. As the atmosphere's concentrations of "greenhouse gases" increase, so too does the atmosphere's ability to retain heat radiated from the earth's surface. This phenomenon, known as the greenhouse effect, is linked by many scientists to a long-term rise in global temperatures.

The greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, are critical to the atmosphere's ability to retain heat and thereby maintain the global temperatures necessary to maintain life as we currently know it.

The increases in concentrations of these gases are produced primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, but also by such activities as deforestation and land clearing, which release the carbon naturally contained in vegetation. Over the past 100 years, humans have caused the release of these gases faster than natural processes can remove them from the atmosphere.

Some scientists predict that average global temperatures will increase 2 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years if global emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated. In addition to an increase in ambient temperatures, the other possible consequences of global warming include a speeding of the global water cycle. It is predicted that faster evaporation caused by higher temperatures would lead to drying of soils, exacerbating drought in some areas while increasing precipitation and flooding in others.

Warmer temperatures could melt polar ice caps, leading to what some predict as a rise in sea levels of between 6 to 37 inches over the next century. This, in turn, would endanger coastal populations and island nations and cause the degradation of coastal ecosystems. If these predictions prove true, human health will be affected directly as warmer temperatures increase the chances of heat waves, exacerbate air quality problems and lead to an increase in both allergic disorders and warm weather diseases. Agriculture, forests, natural ecosystems and vegetation patterns would also be adversely affected by both increases in temperatures and changes in the water cycle.

E)     The Kyoto Protocol is the latest step in the ongoing United Nations' effort to address global warming. The effort began with the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (Convention) signed during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. (The Convention entered into force in 1994 upon the ratification by 50 nations) Despite the continuing scientific debate on the likely occurrence of global warming, the nations took action under the "precautionary principle" of international law.

The Convention is intended to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous interference with the global climate system. The time frame is to be "sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."

To further that objective, the Convention sought to commit all parties to it to develop and implement programs to mitigate climate change by addressing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Convention places the first level of commitment to reduce emissions on nations that have developed, prospered and established strong economies through the consumption of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution began. These developed countries are the 38 countries listed in Annex I to the Convention.

The Convention recognises the importance of preserving and enhancing the earth's natural ability to remove certain greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by FORESTS and other carbon stocks, referred to as "sinks". The removal by sinks is also a key component of the Protocol, which allows countries to meet their commitments by considering the effects of afforestation, reforestation and deforestation since 1990, a provision that is expected to promote cost-effective solutions to climate change and good forestry practices.

F)      Immediate and honest actions by the USA, Russia, Japan and Canada, and all countries in resolving the problems creating the greenhouse gases. The implementation of measurable positive actions to resolve the problems of global warming. The support of the Climate Change Ministry of the Global Community in coordinating efforts.





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