By Cristian Frers
The consequences of Climate Change on economic activities, population and ecosystems are significant and, in many cases, irreversible. The governments of all nations must be involved in this task, but each and every citizen of the planet must also be involved, it is a task for all of us and we still have time.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that humanity will have to respond to in the coming years. Rising temperatures, melting glaciers, multiplying droughts and floods: everything indicates that climate change has begun. The risks are immense for the planet and future generations, forcing us to act urgently. Since this global warming is not only putting polar bears and glaciers at risk, but also us humans. The shortage of drinking water, hunger due to droughts and epidemics, make up the forecast agreed by the majority of scientists, a scenario that is beginning to be seen through clear signs.
Global Climate Change is a modification that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activities that alter the global atmospheric composition, added to the natural climate variability observed in comparable periods of time.
The main climate change to date has been in the atmosphere. We have changed and continue to change, the balance of gases that make up the atmosphere. This is especially true for key greenhouse gases like CO2, Methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). These natural gases are less than one tenth of 1% of the total gases in the atmosphere, but they are vital because they act like a blanket around the Earth. Without this layer the world temperature would be 30 ° C lower.
In recent times, the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 1983, and the 7 hottest years have occurred since 1990. 1998 was the hottest in history, followed by 2002, 2003 and this year, 2010 It will be the hottest ever recorded in recent times.
The consequences on economic activities, population and ecosystems are significant and, in many cases, irreversible. The challenge of adapting to new climatic conditions and participating, simultaneously, in an international mitigation strategy entails economic costs of such magnitude that climate change is an essential conditioning factor of the characteristics and options for economic development in the coming decades. However, when it comes to climate change policies, the stark reality is that no country will be willing to sacrifice its economy to solve the problem.
Addressing climate change is critical to development and poverty reduction. The poorest countries are the ones that will suffer most of the effects of this phenomenon in the first place.
An effective response to face it must combine activities to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avoid the unmanageable and to adapt at the local, regional and national levels to manage the inevitable.
This problem cannot be allowed to stop or slow the economic growth of developing countries. The challenge is twofold: reducing carbon emissions and meeting the demand for energy and sustainable growth of the poorest on the planet.
Be that as it may, climate change is a reality that is manifesting itself more quickly and forcefully than has been anticipated so far and whose consequences we are beginning to suffer all living beings in the form of droughts, floods, among other problems, Underdeveloped countries will be more exposed to severe climatic events than developed countries.
Without measures in time to stop climate change, more than 1 billion people in Bangladesh and other Southeast Asian countries will suffer irreparable damage.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, phenomena such as glacial retreat, desertification, the possible intensification of El Niño and La Niña phenomena and in general the exacerbation of extreme climatic events are taking place, which could greatly influence the economic growth of the countries in the region.
In the absence of an international agreement to mitigate the effects of climate change, the cost to Latin America and the Caribbean could equal up to 137% of current regional GDP by 2100. The region could suffer significant losses in the agricultural sector and in biodiversity , strong pressures on infrastructure and an increase in the intensity of extreme events, which would accumulate to represent important figures for current GDP. Estimates are based on calculations from 15 countries: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay.
Today, in Argentina it is a planning problem, and unfortunately, as in the rest of the region, we do not have medium or long-term plans to face the effects of climate change. Measuring what is happening is the responsibility of each country and our governments are not doing it. We do not have information from progressive studies of climatic and hydrological monitoring and we do not even know, for example, where it will be sown tomorrow, and if we want to defend production capacity we should already be thinking about where we will transfer the crops that will affect the increase in temperature.
In the country there are more than 60,000,000 hectares subject to an erosive process, this is equivalent to the combined areas of the provinces of Córdoba, Santa Fé, Entre Ríos and Corrientes. 650,000 hectares are added each year, with varying degrees of erosion. This situation is particularly acute and critical in arid and semi-arid zones, which make up 75% of the national territory, where the loss of productivity translates into the consequent deterioration of living conditions and expulsion of the population. The disappearance of the forest to move to soy cultivation affects the soil that has little organic wealth.
A basic question arises. Faced with the dangers, the reconstruction and strengthening of the State provider of fundamental public goods such as: education, security, support for scientific-technological development, the fight against poverty, making possible a greater social cohesion, the lack of which is a source of social fractures and national weakness.
It is already clear that the misuse that we are doing of the planet takes its toll on us, that we become aware of it, the future of thousands of living beings and our own survival depend. The governments of all nations must be involved in this task, but each and every citizen of the planet must also be involved, it is a task for all of us and we still have time.
Sun Tzu in the "Art of War and Strategy" wrote that the enemy's vulnerability depends on him, our own invulnerability depends on ourselves. The greatest danger paradoxically, as risky as climate change, comparable to the greatest of droughts, with the worst floods, the most extreme cold or the most damaging heat, is the profound decline that affects the provision of these basic goods . Corruption and laziness are the true climate catastrophes.
Cristian Frers - Senior Technician in Environmental Management and Senior Technician in Social Communication