Global Warming Thesis CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Climate change in today’s age is representing the latest in a series of environmental drivers of human conflict that have been identified in recent decades, following others that include drought, desertification, land degradation, failing water supplies, deforestation, fisheries depletion, and even ozone depletion. By the 1990s, climate modeling had become more sophisticated and actual patterns of change in regional climate conditions were observed more closely after which policy-makers began accepting that ways must be found to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Doing so would necessitate drastic changes to the use of fossil fuels due to which climate change quickly became an economic and energy policy issue. But in just the past few years, the language of climate change has shifted once again. Climate change is now being recast as a threat to international peace and security. Presently, the effects of climate change are being felt: temperatures are rising, icecaps and glaciers are melting and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense. The risks posed by climate change are real and its impacts are already taking place.
The UN estimates that all but one of its emergency appeals for humanitarian aid in 2007 was climate related. In 2007 the UN Security Council held its first debate on climate change and its implications for international security. With advancements in technology, the science of climate change is better understood. The findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrate that even if by 2050 emissions would be reduced to below half of 1990 levels, a temperature rise of up to 2? C above pre-industrial levels will be difficult to avoid.
Such a temperature increase will pose serious security risks that would increase if warming continues. Unmitigated climate change beyond 2? C will lead to unprecedented security scenarios as it is likely to trigger a number of tipping points that would lead to further accelerated, irreversible and largely unpredictable climate changes. Investment in mitigation to avoid such scenarios, as well as ways to adapt to the unavoidable should go hand in hand with addressing the international security threats created by climate change.
The reference point of this paper is the effect of global warming on international security which today is best viewed as a threat multiplier that exacerbates existing trends, tensions and instability. The core challenge is that climate change threatens to overburden states and regions which are already fragile and conflict prone Scope: In order to understand the implications of global warming, this paper will briefly explain the global warming phenomena, its causes, impacts, and subsequently its effects on internal security.
Thereafter, the paper will go on to briefly describe the effects on various areas around the globe and will conclude the paper by stating the international response to this ever growing threat and suggest possible remedial actions. CHAPTER 2 GLOBAL WARMING-CAUSES AND IMPACTS Global Warming is defined as the increase of the average temperature on Earth. As the Earth is getting hotter, disasters like hurricanes, droughts and floods are getting more frequent. Over the last 100 years, the average temperature of the air near the Earth? s surface has risen a little less than 1° Celsius (0. 74 ± 0. 18°C, or 1. 3 ± 0. 2° Fahrenheit). It is responsible for the conspicuous increase in storms, floods and raging forest fires we have seen in the last ten years. Data shows that an increase of one degree Celsius makes the Earth warmer now than it has been for at least a thousand years. Out of the 20 warmest years on record, 19 have occurred since 1980. The three hottest years ever observed have all occurred in the last ten years. THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT The “greenhouse effect” is the heating of the Earth due to the presence of greenhouse gases. It is named this way because of a similar effect produced by the glass panes of a greenhouse.
Shorter-wavelength solar radiation from the sun passes through Earth’s atmosphere, and then is absorbed by the surface of the Earth, causing it to warm. Part of the absorbed energy is then reradiated back to the atmosphere as long wave infrared radiation. Little of this long wave radiation escapes back into space; the radiation cannot pass through the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases selectively transmit the infrared waves, trapping some and allowing some to pass through into space. The greenhouse gases absorb these waves and reemits the waves downward, causing the lower atmosphere to warm. www. eb. com:180) Diagram to help explain the process of global warming and how greenhouse gases create the “greenhouse effect” www. eecs. umich. edu/mathscience/funexperiments/agesubject/lessons/images/diagrampage. html GREENHOUSE GASES To bring all this information together, the United Nations formed a group of scientists called the International Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. The IPCC meets every few years to review the latest scientific findings and write a report summarizing all that is known about global warming. Each report represents a consensus, or agreement, among hundreds of leading scientists.
One of the first things scientists learned is that there are several greenhouse gases responsible for warming, and humans emit them in a variety of ways. Most come from the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production. The gas responsible for the most warming is carbon dioxide, also called CO2. Other contributors include methane released from landfills and agriculture (especially from the digestive systems of grazing animals), nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes, and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2.
Different greenhouse gases have very different heat-trapping abilities. Some of them can even trap more heat than CO2. A molecule of methane produces more than 20 times the warming of a molecule of CO2. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more powerful than CO2. Other gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (which have been banned in much of the world because they also degrade the ozone layer), have heat-trapping potential thousands of times greater than CO2. But because their concentrations are much lower than CO2, none of these gases adds as much warmth to the atmosphere as CO2 does.
Activity| Percent Contribution to Global Warming| Energy use and production| 57%| Chlorofluorocarbons| 17%| Agricultural practices| 14%| Changes in land use| 9%| Other industrial activities| 3%| Source: C, March 27, 1989, p. 22, from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The above table shows the major causes of global warming, and lists them in order based on the percentage of global warming they have caused. At the top is energy production, which far outranks any other source of global warming and accounts for more than half of all global warming.
Energy production creates greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels. Until renewable, non-polluting methods of energy production are developed, energy production will likely remain at the top of this list. Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, rank second in the list. In recent times, public awareness about the dangers of CFCs has increased in some of the more developed countries. As a result, people are beginning to call for decreases in the consumption of products that produce CFCs. http://knowledge. allianz. com/en/globalissues/climate_change/global_warming_basics/global_warming_greenhouse_effect. tml Greenhouse Gases This graph shows the distribution of GHG in Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is clearly the majority. www. abcnews. com/sections/us/global106. html Carbon Dioxide Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless non-flammable gas and is the most prominent Greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere. It is recycled through the atmosphere by the process photosynthesis, which makes human life possible. Photosynthesis is the process of green plants and other organisms transforming light energy into chemical energy.
Light Energy is trapped and used to convert carbon dioxide, water, and other minerals into oxygen and energy rich organic compounds. (Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 25) Carbon Dioxide is emitted into the air as humans exhale, burn fossil fuels for energy, and deforests the planet. Every year humans add over 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by these processes, and it is up thirty percent since 1750. (www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. html) An isolated test at Mauna Loa in Hawaii revealed more than a 12% (316 ppm in 1959 to 360 ppm in 1996) increase in mean annual concentration of carbon dioxide.
Mauna Loa, located in Hawaii, is the world’s largest volcano at 40,000 cubic km and 4,170 meters above sea level. (Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 27) Ice core samples have also shown a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide levels. Drilling deep into glaciers and polar ice caps and taking out samples of ice, then melting the ice and capturing the gas has shown an increase in carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 100 years. Ice core samples are essentially “drilling through time”, because the deeper the ice is, the older the ice is. In 1996, carbon dioxide world emissions increased by 2. %. The U. S. reported a 3. 3% increase in CO2 concentrations. The U. S. continues to emit more than any other country in the world, accounting for 25% of all emissions. The European Union had an increase of 2. 2%, much larger than a small increase of 1. 1% in 1995. Eastern Europe had a decreasing rate of -2. 4%. China’s increase in 1996 was 4. 7%. (http://infoweb. magi. com/~dwalsh/wfsesr. html) Fossil Fuels were created chiefly by the decay of plants from millions of years ago. We use coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity, heat our homes, power our factories and run our cars.
These fossil fuels contain carbon, and when they are burned, they combine with oxygen, forming carbon dioxide. The two atoms of oxygen add to the total weight. The World Energy Council reported that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels rose 12% between 1990 and 1995. (www. eb. com:180) The increase from developing countries was three times that from developed countries. Middle East carbon dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels increased 35%, Africa increased 12%, and Eastern Europe increased rates by 75% from 1990-1995. This graph shows the increase of co2in the air over the past few centuries
Deforestation is another main producer of carbon dioxide. The causes of deforestation are logging for lumber, pulpwood, and fuel wood. Also contributing to deforestation is clearing new land for farming and pastures used for animals such as cows. Forests and wooded areas are natural carbon sinks. This means that as trees absorb carbon dioxide, and release oxygen, carbon is being put into trees. This process occurs naturally by photosynthesis, which occurs less and less as we cut and burn down trees. As the abundance of trees declines, less carbon dioxide can be recycled.
As we burn them down, carbon is released into the air and the carbon bonds with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, adding to the greenhouse effect. About 860 acres, the size of Central Park in New York, is destroyed every 15 minutes in the tropics. Methane Methane is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas. It is formed when plants decay and where there is very little air. It is often called swamp gas because it is abundant around water and swamps. Bacteria that breakdown organic matter in wetlands and bacteria that are found in cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, termites, and camels produce methane naturally.
Since 1750, methane has doubled, and could double again by 2050. Each year we add 350-500 million tons of methane to the air by raising livestock, coal mining, drilling for oil and natural gas, rice cultivation, and garbage sitting in landfills. (www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. html) It stays in the atmosphere for only 10 years, but traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide. Methane is on the rise since 1750 Rice cultivation has developed into a large business; farmland has doubled in the past 45 years. (www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. html) It feeds 1/3 of the World’s population.
It grows mostly in flooded fields, where bacteria in waterlogged soil release methane. Livestock such as cows, sheep, goats, camels, buffaloes, and termites release methane as well. Bacteria in the gut of the animal break down food and convert some of it to methane. When these animals belch, methane is released. In one day, a cow can emit ? pound of methane into the air. Imagine 1. 3 billion cattle, each burping methane several times per minute! Nitrous Oxide Nitrous oxide is another colorless greenhouse gas; however, it has a sweet odor. It is primarily used as an anesthetic because it deadens pain and for this characteristic is called?
Laughing gas? This gas is released naturally from oceans and by bacteria in soils. Nitrous oxide gas has risen by more than 15% since 1750. Each year we add 7-13 million tons into the atmosphere by using nitrogen based fertilizers, disposing of human and animal waste in sewage treatment plants, automobile exhaust, and other sources not yet identified. It is important to reduce emissions because the nitrous oxide we release today will still be trapped in the atmosphere 100 years from now. (World Book Volume 13) Nitrous Oxide has been on the rise since 1750 www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitmap. tml Nitrogen based fertilizer use has doubled in the past 15 years. These fertilizers provide nutrients for crops; however, when they breakdown in the soil, nitrous oxide is released into the atmosphere. In automobiles, nitrous oxide is released at a much lower rate than carbon dioxide, because there is more carbon in gasoline than nitrogen. Fluorocarbons Fluorocarbon is a general term for any group of synthetic organic compounds that contain fluorine and carbon. Many of these compounds, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), can be easily converted from gas to liquid or liquid to gas.
Because of these properties, CFCs can be used in aerosol cans, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Studies in the 1970s showed that when CFCs are emitted into the atmosphere, they break down molecules in the Earth’s ozone layer (World Book). Since then, the use of CFCs has significantly decreased and they are banned from production in the United States. The substitute for CFCs is hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs do not harm or breakdown the ozone molecule, but they do trap heat in the atmosphere, making it a greenhouse gas, aiding in global warming. HFCs are used in air conditioners and refrigerators.
The way to reduce emissions of this gas is to be sure that in both devices the coolant is recycled and all leaks are properly fixed. Also, before throwing the appliances away, are sure to recover the coolant in each. Impacts of Global Warming Global warming will have serious impacts on the environment and on society. Higher temperatures will cause a melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica. This will accelerate the rise of sea level. The speed at which global warming is expected to occur in the 21st century is faster than most plant and animal species will be able to cope with.
Some will adapt but others will suffer and may become extinct. Global warming will affect agriculture. New crops will be able to be grown in areas that are currently too cold to support them. However, more pests and diseases may offset any benefits higher temperatures may have. Water resources will also be affected. Some reservoirs may dry up if temperature increases, especially if rainfall also decreases. Rising sea levels may pollute fresh groundwater supplies with salt water. Global warming will also affect human health.
There may be more heat-related illnesses in hotter summers, and increased breathing problems as higher temperatures increase air pollution in cities, reducing air quality. The malaria mosquito may also be able to spread to other regions of the world where it is currently too cold to survive and breed. More extreme weather, for example storms, floods and droughts will have severe impacts on the environment and on society. The poorest people in society will unfortunately be those least able to cope with the impacts of global warming Effects of Global Warming on Society Agriculturally, Dr.
Sylvan H. Wittwer believes that global warming is good for the human race, because it helps increase food production. “The most determinant factor in agriculture production is climate. History reveals that for food production, warming is better than cooling. ” Dr. Wittwer says that carbon dioxide is an essential nutrient for the production of food, and food is one of the most important things in our lives. As the temperature rises, more farmland will be open towards the poles and the length of the growing season will also lengthen. With all the people who go hungry each day, Dr.
Wittwer believes food production should be one of our main concerns. Dr. Wittwer is the scientific pioneer who conducted the original studies on atmospheric CO2 enhancement of the production of food crops. (www. comnett. net/~wit/food. html) Increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and global warming could also lead to more health concerns. A statement released from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said, “Climate change is likely to have wide-ranging and mostly adverse impacts on human health, with significant loss of life. As temperatures increase towards the poles, similar to farmland, insects and other pests migrate towards Earth’s poles. These insects and pests could be allowed to migrate up to 550 Km or 550 miles. Some insects carry diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Thus, an increase in these particular insects and pests closer to the poles results in an increase in these diseases. This could lead to 50 to 80 million additional cases of Malaria annually, a 10-15% increase. “Malaria and dengue fever are already beginning to spread pole wards”, said Jane Lubchenco, past president of American Association for the advancement of science. www. epa. gov/oppeoeel/globalwarming/impacts/health/index. html) Physician Paul Epstein, of Harvard’s School of Public Health, says “Climate change is already a factor in terms of the distributions of malaria, dengue fever, and cholera. ” (www. aloha. net~jhanson/page70. htm) The most obvious health effect is directly from the heat itself. With an increase in heat waves, there will be more people who will suffer from heatstroke, heart attacks and other ailments aggravated by the heat. According to the EPA, “In July 1995, a heat wave killed more than 700 people in the Chicago area alone. ” (www. epa. ov/oppeoeel/globalwarming/impacts/health/index. html) If this is happening already from heat, imagine what would occur in the future with global warming. Hot conditions could also cause smoke particles and noxious gases to linger in the air and accelerate chemical reactions that generate other pollutants. (www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. html) This leads to an increase in risk of respiratory diseases like bronchitis and asthma. Global warming causes the oceans to warm and expand, inducing a rise in sea level. Eventually, the rising waters could take away land inhabited by people, forcing them to move.
Dr. Robert Buddemieir, of the Kansas Geological Survey said, “Bangladesh is massively populated, achingly poor, and something like a sixth of the country is going to go away” (www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. html) Bangladesh cannot afford to build barriers to hold back the sea, so people would have to move inland, increasing the populations density and leading to an increase in hunger and disease. (www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. html) The Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean have the same problem. They are a nation of 1190 islands with an average height of about 1. meters above sea level. If the sea level rises, more than 200,000 people will have to abandon their homes. (www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitmap. html) Warming of the oceans could also promote toxic algae which can lead to cholera. Graph showing history of sea level and extrapolating possible increases in sea level over the next century The blue line represents the history of sea level. The yellow line is a high estimate of sea level extrapolated. The red line a central estimate, and the green line is a low projection. www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. tml THE PRESENT WAYS OF PRODUCING ENERGY This pie graph shows the breakdown of how the world produces its energy www. envirolink. org/orgs/edf/sitemap. html Fossil fuels, chiefly coal, oil and natural gas, now supply most of the world’s energy. Only a small amount comes from renewable sources, which do not release gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. If we could get more of our energy from renewable sources, we could reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn. By the year 2050, renewable sources could provide forty percent of the energy needed in the world.
Use of renewable energy can help both to slow global warming and to reduce air pollution. (www. doc. mmu. ac. uk/aric/gcc/cell. html#pos6) These fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas also emit greenhouse gases when burned. Coal emits high amounts of greenhouse gases, and the world may be supplied with enough of it to last over 100 years. Oil emits high amounts of greenhouse gases and also other types of air pollution harmful to the environment. The world’s oil supply is also estimated to last over 100 years. Natural Gas is the lowest of all fossil fuels in greenhouse gas missions; supplies are projected to last over 100 years. (www. doc. mmu. ac. uk/aric/gcc/cell. html#pos6) 1996 Processes Carbon Dioxide was produced Country (region)| OIL| Natural Gas| Coal| World| 44. 7%| 18. 4%| 36. 9%| Canada| 51. 8%| 30%| 18. 2%| United States| 45%| 21. 3%| 33. 7%| European Union| 56. 2%| 19%| 24. 8%| China| 17. 4%| 1. 1%| 81. 5%| Japan| 64. 6%| 9. 9%| 25. 5%| This chart shows what percentage of CO2 comes from Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal. For example, in 1996, 44. 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions came from the combustion of oil. Terms 1.
Carbon Dioxide – a heavy colorless gas that does not support combustion, dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, is formed especially in animal reparation and in the decay or combustion of animal and vegetable matter, is absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis, and is used in the carbonation of beverages. 2. Methane- a colorless odorless flammable gaseous hydrocarbon that is a product of decompositions of organic matter and of the carbonization of coal, is used as a fuel and as a starting material in chemical synthesis, and is the simplest of the alkenes. 3.
Photosynthesis- synthesis of chemical compounds with the aid of radiant energy and especially light; especially formation of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and a source of hydrogen in the chlorophyll-containing tissues of plants exposed to light 4. Greenhouse Effect- warming of the surface and lower atmosphere of a planet that is caused by conversion of solar radiation into heat in a process involving selective transmission of short wave solar radiation by the atmosphere, its absorption by the planet’s surface, and reradiating as infrared which is absorbed and partly reradiated back to the surface by atmospheric gases. . Nitrous oxide – a colorless gas that when inhaled produces loss of sensibility to pain preceded by exhilaration and sometimes laughter and is used as an anesthetic in dentistry and that is an atmospheric pollutant produced by combustion and a suspected contributor to greenhouse warming — also called laughing gas. 6. Malaria – a human disease that is caused by sporazoa parasites in the red blood cells, is transmitted by the bite of anopheles mosquitoes, and is characterized by peo
iodic attacks of chills and fever 7.
Dengue – an acute infectious disease caused by an arbovirus, transmitted by aedes mosquitoes, and characterized by headache, severe joint pain, and a rash–called also dengue fever. CHAPTER 3 IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING ON INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND DESTABILIZING IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE The effects of climate change are being felt now: temperatures are rising, icecaps and glaciers are melting and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense. The following section outlines some of the forms of conflicts driven by climate change which may occur in different regions of the world. . ) Conflict over resources Reduction of arable land, widespread shortage of water, diminishing food and fish stocks, increased flooding and prolonged droughts are already happening in many parts of the world. Climate change will alter rainfall patterns and further reduce available freshwater by as much as 20 to 30% in certain regions. A drop in agricultural productivity will lead to, or worsen, food-insecurity in least developed countries and an unsustainable increase in food prices across the board.
Water shortage in particular has the potential to cause civil unrest and to lead to significant economic losses, even in robust economies. The consequences will be even more intense in areas under strong demographic pressure. The overall effect is that climate change will fuel existing conflicts over depleting resources, especially where access to those resources is politicized. ii. ) Economic damage and risk to coastal cities and critical infrastructure It has been estimated that a business as usual scenario in dealing with climate change could cost the world economy up to 20% of global GDP per ear, whereas the cost of effective concerted action can be limited to 1%. Coastal zones are the home of about one fifth of the world’s population, a number set to rise in the years ahead. Mega-cities, with their supporting infrastructure, such as port facilities and oil refineries, are often located by the sea or in river deltas. Sea-level rise and the increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters pose a serious threat to these regions and their economic prospects. The East coasts of China and India as well as the Caribbean region and Central America would be particularly affected.
An increase in disasters and humanitarian crises will lead to immense pressure on the resources of donor countries, including capacities for emergency relief operations. iii. ) Loss of territory and border disputes Scientists project major changes to the landmass during this century. Receding coastlines and submergence of large areas could result in loss of territory, including entire countries such as small island states. More disputes over land and maritime borders and other territorial rights are likely.
There might be a need to revisit existing rules of international law, particularly the Law of the Sea, as regards the resolution of territorial and border disputes. A further dimension of competition for energy resources lies in potential conflict over resources in Polar Regions which will become exploitable as a consequence of global warming. Desertification could trigger a vicious circle of degradation, migration and conflicts over territory and borders that threatens the political stability of countries and regions. iv. ) Environmentally induced migration
Those parts of the populations that already suffer from poor health conditions, unemployment or social exclusion are rendered more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which could amplify or trigger migration within and between countries. The UN predicts that there will be millions of environmental” migrants by 2020 with climate change as one of the major drivers of this phenomenon. Some countries that are extremely vulnerable to climate change are already calling for international recognition of such environmentally-induced migration. Such migration may increase conflicts in transit and destination areas.
Europe must expect substantially increased migratory pressure. v. ) Situations of fragility and radicalization Climate change may significantly increase instability in weak or failing states by over-stretching the already limited capacity of governments to respond effectively to the challenges they face. The inability of a government to meet the needs of its population as a whole or to provide protection in the face of climate change-induced hardship could trigger frustration, lead to tensions between different ethnic and religious groups within countries and to political radicalization.
This could destabilize countries and even entire regions. vi. ) Tension over energy supply One of the most significant potential conflicts over resources arises from intensified competition over access to, and control over, energy resources. That in itself is, and will continue to be, a cause of instability. However, because much of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves are in regions vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and because many oil and gas producing states already face significant social economic and demographic challenges, instability is likely to increase.
This has the potential to feed back into greater energy insecurity and greater competition for resources. A possible wider use of nuclear energy for power generation might raise new concerns about proliferation, in the context of a non-proliferation regime that is already under pressure. As previously inaccessible regions open up due to the effects of climate change, the scramble for resources will intensify. vii. ) Pressure on international governance The multilateral system is at risk if the international community fails to address the threats outlined above.
Climate change impacts will fuel the politics of resentment between those most responsible for climate change and those most affected by it. Impacts of climate mitigation policies (or policy failures) will thus drive political tension nationally and internationally. The potential rift not only divides North and South but there will also be a South – South dimension particularly as the Chinese and Indian share of global emissions rises. The already burdened international security architecture will be put under increasing pressure.
THE DESTABILIZING IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE REDUCED ACCESS TO FRESH WATER Adequate supplies of fresh water for drinking, irrigation, and sanitation are the most basic prerequisite for human habitation. Changes in rainfall, snowfall, snowmelt, and glacial melt have significant effects on fresh water supplies, and climate change is likely to affect all of those things. In some areas of the Middle East, tensions over water already exist. Mountain glaciers are an especially threatened source of fresh water .
A modest rise in temperature of about 2° to 4°F in mountainous regions can dramatically alter the precipitation mix by increasing the share falling as rain while decreasing the share falling as snow. The result is more flooding during the rainy season, a shrinking snow/ice mass, and less snowmelt to feed rivers during the dry season . Forty percent of the world’s population derives at least half of its drinking water from the summer melt of mountain glaciers, but these glaciers are shrinking and some could disappear within decades.
Several of Asia’s major rivers—the Indus, Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze, and Yellow—originate in the Himalayas . If the massive snow/ice sheet in the Himalayas—the third-largest ice sheet in the world, after those in Antarctic and Greenland—continues to melt, it will dramatically reduce the water supply of much of Asia. Most countries in the Middle East and northern Africa are already considered water scarce, and the International Water Resource Management Institute projects that by 2025, Pakistan, South Africa, and large parts of India and China will also be water scarce. To put this in perspective: the U. S. ould have to suffer a decrease in water supply that produces an 80 percent decrease in per capita water consumption to reach the United Nations definition of “water scarce. ” these projections do not factor in climate change, which is expected to exacerbate water problems in many areas. IMPAIRED FOOD PRODUCTION Access to vital resources, primarily food and water, can be an additional causative factor of conflicts, a number of which are playing out today in Africa. Probably the best known is the conflict in Darfur between herders and farmers. Long periods of drought resulted in the loss of both farmland and grazing land to the desert.
The failure of their grazing lands compelled the nomads to migrate southward in search of water and herding ground, and that in turn led to conflict with the farming tribes occupying those lands. Coupled with population growth, tribal, ethnic, and religious differences, the competition for land turned violent. Probably more than any other recent conflict, Darfur provides In some areas of the Middle East, tensions over water already exist. a case study of how existing marginal situations can be exacerbated beyond the tipping point by climate-related factors.
It also shows how lack of essential resources threatens not only individuals and their communities but also the region and the international community at large. Worldwide food production will be affected by climate change in a variety of ways. Crop ecologists estimate that for every 1. 8°F rise in temperature above historical norms, grain production will drop 10 percent. Most of the world’s growth in food demand is occurring on the Indian subcontinent and in sub-Saharan Africa, areas already facing food shortages. Over the coming decades, these areas are expected to become hotter and drier.
HEALTH CATASTROPHES Climate change is likely to have major implications for human health. While some impacts, such as reduced deaths from cold temperatures in some areas, will be positive, the World Health Organization estimates that the overall impact will be negative. The major concern is significant spreading of the conditions for vector-borne diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria, and food-borne diseases, such as salmonella. The decline in available fresh water in some regions will also have an impact, as good health and adequate supplies of clean water are inextricably linked.
A health emergency involving large numbers of casualties and deaths from disease can quickly expand into a major regional or global security challenge that may require military support, ranging from distribution of vaccines to full-scale stability operations. LAND LOSS AND FLOODING: DISPLACEMENT OF MAJOR POPULATIONS About two-thirds of the world’s population lives near coastlines, where critically important facilities and infrastructure, such as transportation routes, industrial facilities, port facilities, and energy production and distribution facilities are located.
A rise in sea level means potential loss of land and displacement of large numbers of people. Even in our own nation, Hurricane Katrina showed the social upheaval and tensions that can result from land loss and displaced populations. But while the impact of inundation from one-time occurrences such as Hurricane Katrina is temporary, even as it is devastating, inundation from climate change is likely to be permanent on the scale of human lifetimes. Rising sea levels will also make coastal areas more vulnerable to flooding and land loss through erosion.
Storm surges will also take a greater toll on coastal communities and infrastructure as sea levels rise. According to a Pacific Institute study, a six-inch rise in the water level of San Francisco Bay would mean a fairly routine one-in-ten-year storm would wreak as much damage as a far more serious “hundred-year storm” would have caused before the sea level rise. In the U. S. , we may be able to cope with such a change, but poorer nations would be greatly challenged.
Most of the economically important major rivers and river deltas in the world—the Niger, the Mekong, the Yangtze, the Ganges, the Nile, the Rhine, and the Mississippi—are densely populated along their banks. As sea levels rise and storm surges increase, saline water can contaminate groundwater, inundate river deltas and valleys, and destroy croplands. CHAPTER 5 REGIONAL IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING 1. Africa: Africa is one of the continents most vulnerable to climate change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity.
In North Africa and the Sahel, increasing drought, water scarcity and land overuse will degrade soils and could lead to a loss of 75% of arable, rain-fed land. The Nile Delta could be at risk from both sea-level rise and salinisation in agricultural areas while 12 to 15% of arable land could be lost through sea-level rise in this century with 5 million people affected by 2050. Already today, climate change is having a major impact on the conflict in and around Darfur. In the Horn of Africa reduced rainfall and increasing temperatures will have a significant negative impact on a region highly vulnerable to conflict.
In southern Africa, droughts are contributing to poor harvests, leading to food insecurity in several areas with millions of people expected to face food shortages. Migration in this region, but also migration from other regions through Northern Africa to reach Europe (transit migration) is likely to intensify. In Africa, and elsewhere, climate change is expected to have a negative effect on health, in particular due to the spread of vector borne diseases further aggravating tensions. 2. Middle East: Water systems in the Middle East are already under intense stress.
Roughly two-thirds of the Arab world depends on sources outside their borders for water. The Jordan and Yarmulke rivers are expected to see considerable reduction in their flows affecting Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. Existing tensions over access to water are almost certain to intensify in this region leading to further political instability with detrimental implications for Europe’s energy security and other interests. Water supply in Israel might fall by 60% over this century. Consequently, a significant drop in crop yields is projected for an area that is already largely arid or semi-arid.
Significant decreases are expected to hit Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia and thus affect stability in a vitally strategic region for Europe. 3. South Asia: Sea-level rise may threaten the habitat of millions of people as 40% of Asia’s population (almost 2 billion) lives within 60km from the coastline. Water stress and loss of agricultural productivity will make it difficult for Asia to feed its growing population who will additionally be exposed to an increase of infectious diseases. Changes in the monsoon rains and decrease of melt water from the Himalayas will affect more than 1 billion people.
Conflicts over remaining resources and unmanaged migration will lead to instability in a region that is an important economic partner of Europe with factors of production and distribution concentrated along vulnerable coastlines. 4. Central Asia: Central Asia is another region severely affected by climate change. An increasing shortage of water, which is both a key resource for agriculture and a strategic resource for electricity generation, is already noticeable. The glaciers in Tajikistan lost a third of their area in the second half of he 20th century alone, while Kyrgyzstan has lost over a 1000 glaciers in the last four decades. There is thus considerable additional potential for conflict in a region whose strategic, political and economic developments as well as increasing trans-regional challenges impact directly or indirectly on EU interests. 5. Latin America and the Caribbean: In drier areas of Latin America climate change will lead to salinisation and desertification of agricultural land and to decreasing productivity of important crops and livestock. This will have adverse consequences for food security.
Sea-level rise is projected to cause increased risk of flooding in low-lying areas. Increases in sea surface temperature due to climate change are projected to have adverse effects on coral reefs, and cause shifts in the location of fish stocks. Latin American and Caribbean countries are already subject to the detrimental effects, including many extreme events, associated with the El Nino cycle. Changes in rainfall patterns and the disappearance of glaciers are projected to significantly affect water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation, for example in the Andes region.
Countries in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico are already increasingly affected by major hurricanes. This will be further exacerbated by climate change and result in social and political tensions in a region with often weak governance structures. 6. The Arctic: The rapid melting of the polar ice caps, in particular, the Arctic, is opening up new waterways and international trade routes. In addition, the increased accessibility of the enormous hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic region is changing the geo-strategic dynamics of the region with potential consequences for international stability and European security interests.
The resulting new strategic interests are illustrated by the recent planting of the Russian flag under the North Pole. There is an increasing need to address the growing debate over territorial claims and access to new trade routes by different countries which challenge Europe’s ability to effectively secure its trade and resource interests in the region and may put pressure on its relations with key partners. CHAPTER-6 INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE & RECOMMENDATIONS KYOTO PROTOCOL The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions . These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012. Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. 184 Parties of the Convention have ratified its Protocol to date. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the “Marrakesh Accords. ” The Kyoto mechanisms Under the Treaty, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Kyoto Protocol offers them an additional means of meeting their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms. The Kyoto mechanisms are: Emissions trading – known as “the carbon market” * Clean development mechanism (CDM) * Joint implementation (JI). The mechanisms help stimulate green investment and help Parties meet their emission targets in a cost-effective way. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992, setting out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system.
The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994 and now has 194 parties. In December 1997, delegates at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a Protocol to the UNFCCC committing industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emission reduction targets. These countries, known under the UNFCCC as Annex I parties, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5. 2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country.
The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and currently has 190 parties. In 2005, at COP/MOP 1 in Montreal, Canada, parties established the AWG-KP on the basis of Protocol Article 3. 9, mandating consideration of Annex I parties’ further commitments at least seven years before the end of the first commitment period. In addition, COP 11 agreed in Montreal to consider long-term cooperation under the Convention through a series of four workshops known as “the Convention Dialogue,” which continued until COP 13. COPENHAGEN CONFERENCE In 2012 the Kyoto Protocol to prevent climate changes and global warming runs out.
To keep the process on the line there is an urgent need for a new climate protocol. At the conference in Copenhagen 2009 the parties of the UNFCCC meet for the last time on government level before the climate agreement need to be renewed. The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark took place from 7-19 December 2009. It included the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fifth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 5).
COP 15 and COP/MOP 5 were held in conjunction with the thirty-first sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 31) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 31), the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 10) and the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC (AWG-LCA 8).
The Copenhagen Conference marked the culmination of a two-year negotiating process to enhance international climate change cooperation under the Bali Roadmap, launched by COP 13 in December 2007. Close to 115 world leaders attended the joint COP and COP/MOP high-level segment from 16-18 December, marking one of the largest gatherings of world leaders outside of New York.
The conference was subject to unprecedented public and media attention, and more than 40,000 people, representing governments, nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, media and UN agencies applied for accreditation at the conference. Many hoped that the Copenhagen Climate Conference would be able to “seal the deal” and result in a fair, ambitious and equitable agreement, setting the world towards a path to avoid dangerous climate change.
To this end, what many characterized as “intense negotiations” took place over the two weeks at the level of experts, Ministers and Heads of State. But it was not without controversy. Questions concerning transparency and process played out during the meeting. Differences emerged, inter alia, on whether work should be carried out in a smaller “friends of the chair” format as well as on a proposal by the Danish COP Presidency to table two texts reflecting the work done by the AWGs.
Many parties rejected this idea, urging that only texts developed in the AWGs by parties should be used. During the high-level segment, informal negotiations took place in a group consisting of major economies and representatives of regional groups. Late on Friday evening, these talks resulted in political agreement entitled the “Copenhagen Accord,” which was not based on the texts developed by either of the AWGs. Details of the agreement were widely reported by the media before the COP closing plenary.
While most reports highlighted that Heads of State had been able to “seal the deal,” almost everyone participating in the negotiations openly admitted that it was “far from a perfect agreement. ” During the closing COP plenary, which lasted nearly 13 hours, long and what many characterized as “acrimonious” discussions ensued on the transparency of the process that had led to the conclusion of the Copenhagen Accord and on whether the COP should adopt it. Most negotiating groups supported its adoption as a COP decision in order to operationalize it as a step towards “a better” future agreement.
Some developing countries, however, opposed the Accord reached during what they characterized as an “untransparent” and “undemocratic” negotiating process. During informal negotiations facilitated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon during the night and early morning, parties agreed to adopt a COP decision whereby the COP “takes note” of the Copenhagen Accord, which was attached to the decision as an unofficial document. Parties also agreed to establish a procedure whereby countries supporting the Copenhagen Accord can accede to it.
Many recognized the historical significance of the Copenhagen Conference, highlighting its unprecedented success in bringing together the majority of the world’s leaders to consider climate change and listing mitigation actions pledged by developed and developing countries, as well as provisions on finance and technology. Most delegates, however, left Copenhagen disappointed at what they saw as a “weak agreement,” and questioning its practical implications given that the Copenhagen Accord had not been formally adopted as the outcome of the negotiations.
The Copenhagen UN climate conference ended last Saturday with a weak agreement, not the groundbreaking treaty many had hoped for. Not only did World watch send its biggest team ever to the Danish capital; with more than 100 heads of governments and many more parliamentarians and dignitaries, COP-15 became the largest assembly of world leaders in diplomatic history. The Copenhagen conference had been planned out for two years in many small informal and large official meetings, following the 2007 Bali Action Plan in which nations had agreed to finalize a binding agreement this December.
The outcome falls far short of this original goal. Delegates only “noted” an accord (“the Copenhagen Accord”) struck by the United States, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa that has two key components: first, it sets a target of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times; second, it proposes $100 billion in annual aid for developing nations starting in 2020 to help them reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. degrees Celsius is seen by mainstream science as a threshold for dangerous climatic changes including sea-level rise and accelerated glacier melt, as well as more intense floods, droughts, and storms. Many scientists also believe that a majority of worldwide ecosystems will struggle to adapt to a warming above that mark, and more recently have set the threshold even lower, at 1. 5 degrees Celsius. The accord, however, lacks any information on how this goal of preventing “dangerous” climate change, which had already been set by the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention, would be achieved.
It is generally assumed that in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees, worldwide emissions have to peak before 2020 and have to be at least halved before mid-century, but the Copenhagen accord doesn’t outline global emissions scenarios nor individual countries’ pathways towards either of these two goals. Regarding the money for developing countries, the declaration does not specify precisely where the $100 billion annual support would come from nor who would profit from it. Accordingly, the assessment of the accord was mixed.
U. N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the Copenhagen Accord as “an important beginning” and U. S. President Obama said that “for the first time in history, all of the world’s major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action on the threat of climate change. ” Others, like German chancellor Angela Merkel, could hardly hide their disappointment. “The decision has been very difficult for me. We have done one step, we have hoped for several more,” Merkel said. Likewise, many U. S. ommentators considered the deal just a small step forward, however an essential one in the domestic context. A friend of mine wrote to me that “without the accord, the Senate process would be dead. I think we can push forward domestically with the elements in the accord. ” The next COP is set for November 2010 in Mexico City, with a likely high-level preparatory meeting mid-year on invitation of the German government. “We have a big job ahead to avoid climate change through effective emissions reduction targets, and this was not done here,” said Sergio Serra, Brazil’s climate change ambassador.
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