Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 1st December 2010

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: It’s that time of year again. Time for the next United Nations Climate Change Summit, this time in Cancún, Mexico. We can but hope that this time it will be different and not a repeat of last year’s dismal failure in Copenhagen.

2010 has been a year of record temperatures and extreme weather and it does not seem possible to restrict world temperature rise to 2ºC. The complexities of the climate system means that even small changes could bring flooded coastlines, disruption to food and water supplies and species extinction. There are nearly 100 small island states and other poor countries that find themselves in the frontline when it comes to climate change and an agreement from rich nations to allow a global temperature rise of 2ºC when a lower limit is necessary will threaten their future.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, said “ If the world fails to stop emissions from continuing to climb by 2020, the prospects for the people on the planet are pretty bleak”. This is from a minister in a Government that seems set to backslide from committing to emission reduction at home. There seems little hope of a binding agreement on the world-wide reduction of carbon dioxide emissions so emphasis is being placed on schemes to reduce deforestation and land degradation, along with pledges of billions of dollars to help developing countries follow a low carbon route.

While the world economic situation is in such turmoil, it is easy to see why governments feel that they do not have time or money to spend on what is not directly affecting most of them at the present time. Such thinking is for the short term but climate change is a long-term problem, which will affect everyone eventually and many people immediately.

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