Climate | Environment | 22nd September 2021 | Virtual Wire
“Climate change is the big environmental problem that humanity will face over the next decade, but it isn't the only one. We'll take a look at some of them — from water shortages and loss of biodiversity to waste management — and discuss the challenges we have ahead of us.”
The third decade of the 21st century has begun and the environmental challenges we have ahead of us, set out in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are many. This global plan of action adopted in 2015 puts forward specific measures to achieve a world that is fairer, more prosperous and more respectful of the environment within ten years. In this regard, the UN itself warns that we are running late, and the question now is whether we still have time to save the planet.
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION GLOBAL WARMING DUE TO CO2 EMISSIONS — WHICH ACCORDING TO THE UN HAVE INCREASED BY ALMOST 50% SINCE 1990.
It is accelerating climate change and threatens the survival of millions of people, plants and animals by causing meteorological events like droughts, fires and floods, which are becoming increasingly frequent and more extreme. This means we need to take measures to mitigate its effects and adapt to its consequences which, even if we keep global warming under 2 ºC as required by the Paris Agreements, will last for centuries.
POLLUTION PROBLEMS AND THEIR EFFECT ON HEALTH THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) ESTIMATES THAT 90% OF HUMANITY BREATHES POLLUTED AIR.
Calling for a reduction in air pollution to cut rates of respiratory illnesses, thus preventing seven million deaths a year. Contaminated water also causes major health problems and five million deaths a year according to Oxfam Intermón. The UN advocates eliminating dumping, minimising the use of chemicals and treating more wastewater, among other measures.
PROTECTING THE OCEANS
The oceans have become the giant waste dumps for plastic. What's more, there are other serious environmental problems related to the oceans such as damage to ecosystems due to global warming, dumping of pollutants, wastewater and fuel spills. The UN calls for improved management of protected areas, giving them sufficient resources, and reducing overfishing, pollution and acidification of the ocean caused by the increase in the earth's temperature.
THE ENERGY TRANSITION AND RENEWABLES
While energy accounts for 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the UN calculates that 13% of the world population lacks access to electricity and that 3 billion people depend on fossil fuels for cooking. This situation requires an energy transition towards a cleaner, more accessible and efficient model based on the use of renewable energy sources to build communities that are more sustainable, inclusive and resistant to environmental problems like climate change.
We could see that after years of hard negotiations and efforts of all countries, the world has reached a common understanding with respect to global environmental protection: social progress and economic development must be in coordination with environmental protection and ecological equilibrium, to improve the standard and quality of living for humans and promote the prosperity and thriving of entire human society must be accomplished through global sustainable development.
The existence of global environmental problems has their historical background and also the reason for flaws in the international system; a responsible attitude is not to blame each other but to positively cooperate with joint efforts. Therefore, to solve issues like global ecological environment destruction and climate warming up, governments must show wisdom and bravery to shatter the narrow concept of the bondage of national interests and work towards international cooperation, collective security, common benefit and rational negotiation.
Only through mutual efforts of the international community can the sustainable development objectives be realized with harmony between economic development on one side and population, resource and environment on the other.
Picture - IGS Energy
Global climate change, perhaps, will provide great prospects for strengthened cooperation and mutual benefits for the entire international community, though it also brings about a potential crisis.