The impact of climate change are being felt today by every country, as the
catastrophic climate events are already affecting hundreds of millions of our
fellow human beings. Severe increase in droughts, melting glaciers and rising
sea levels are increasing food insecurity, exacerbating diseases are disrupting
lives and livelihoods and forcibly displacing people and entire community.
Urgent action on climate change must therefore be seen as a moral,
environmental, scientific, and developmental imperative, guided by ambition,
action and equity. In this regard the Paris Convention adopted by 195 countries
in the year 2015 enhances our ambition of nationally determined contributions
without delay and achieving these ends. Raised ambition and scaled up mitigation
action are the need of the hour.
The states must pursue collectively and in
accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and
Increasing the use of low-carbon energy sources in the global energy mix is
vital, including through renewable such as wind and solar energy, whose costs
continue to decline. Governments, the private sector, civil society, local
authorities and other partners are increasingly investing in smart and viable
climate solutions that will achieve transformation to a resilient and low
emissions global economy.
However, these investments must be scaled up.Indeed,
climate action is a profound catalyst for the creation of jobs and improving
livelihoods across our world. New and reinvigorated partnerships will be
critical to achieving this transformation. While the Paris Agreement is a
turning point for international cooperation to achieve global transformation on
climate change, it is also central to our broader goals under the 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development.
Achieving the universal and transformative 2030
Agenda promises to deliver on the future we want by eliminating extreme poverty;
building peaceful and inclusive societies; empowering women and girls;
increasing prosperity, and combating climate change. The Current estimates
indicate that implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 Agenda
will require annual financial flows of US$ 5-7 trillion. Thus there is an urgent
need for global action on both climate change and sustainable development, the
very objective of UN Gen assembly to be achieved by the end.
Climate change has long-since ceased to be a scientific curiosity, and is no
longer just one of many environmental and regulatory concerns. As the United
Nations Secretary General has said, it is the major, overriding environmental
issue of our time, and the single greatest challenge facing environmental
regulators. It is a growing crisis with economic, health and safety, food
production, security, and other dimensions.Shifting weather patterns, for
example, threaten food production through increased unpredictability of
precipitation, rising sea levels contaminate coastal freshwater reserves and
increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, and a warming atmosphere aids the
pole-ward spread of pests and diseases once limited to the tropics.
The news to date is bad and getting worse. Ice-loss from glaciers and ice sheets
has continued, leading, for example, to the second straight year with an
ice-free passage through Canada’s Arctic islands, and accelerating rates of
ice-loss from ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Combined with thermal
expansion—warm water occupies more volume than cold—the melting of ice sheets
and glaciers around the world is contributing to rates and an ultimate extent of
sea-level rise that could far outstrip those anticipated in the most recent
global scientific assessment.
There is alarming evidence that important tipping points, leading to
irreversible changes in major ecosystems and the planetary climate system, may
already have been reached or passed. Ecosystems as diverse as the Amazon
rainforest and the Arctic tundra, for example, may be approaching thresholds of
dramatic change through warming and drying. Mountain glaciers are in alarming
retreat and the downstream effects of reduced water supply in the driest months
will have repercussions that transcend generations. Climate feedback systems and
environmental cumulative effects are building across Earth systems demonstrating
behaviours we cannot anticipate. Climate change and US.
Some climate and weather changes already observed in the United States
include:U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since
recordkeeping began in 1895; most of this increase has occurred since about
1970. The first decade of the 2000s (2000–2009) was the warmest on record
throughout the United States.Average U.S. precipitation has increased since
1900, but some areas have experienced increases greater than the national
average, and some areas have experienced decreases.
Climate change and human health
The influences of weather and climate on human health are significant and
varied. They range from the clear threats of temperature extremes and severe
storms to connections that may seem less obvious. For example, weather and
climate affect the survival, distribution, and behavior of mosquitoes, ticks,
and rodents that carry diseases like West Nile virus or Lyme disease. Climate
and weather can also affect water and food quality in particular areas, with
implications for human health. In addition, the effects of global climate change
on mental health and well-being are integral parts of the overall
climate-related human health impact.
Causes Of Climate Change
Many scientists agree that climate change is due to the over-abundance of
greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. The three most destructive GHGs are
carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and methane. Industrialization, the increased
burning of fossil fuels, and controversial practices of obtaining oil have
tipped the natural balance in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide (CO2).
As the concentration of CO2 rises, more heat from the sun is being trapped in
the earth’s atmosphere causing an increase in global temperatures, a cycle know
as the Greenhouse Effect.
Climate change is defined as the increase in Earth’s temperature due to human
activity by way of greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the UN International
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that scientists expect to see a number of
other possible changes that could potentially be disastrous to the planet; these
changes vary from region to region.
In Africa, for example, increased water stress will decrease agricultural
productivity. Floods, heat waves, and an increase of malaria will cause a higher
death rate. North America can expect to see decreased snow pack in the mountains
and an increase in the duration and intensity of heat waves. These heat waves
would be even more intense in cities that already experience heat waves.
Sources Of Climate Change
The Greenhouse Effect
Human activity is causing the global climate change. More than 100 years ago,
people started burning large amounts of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas)
to power their homes, factories, and vehicles. Around the world, people continue
to burn more and more fossil fuels to meet modern energy needs. Burning fossil
fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, along with
other greenhouse gasses, stays in the Earth’s atmosphere and warms the planet.
Earth needs these to help keep it warm enough for plants and animals to live.
However, humans are releasing more gases than ever before, which is casing
The gases in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases, and they trap heat to
make the Earth warmer. This process is known as the greenhouse effect. The
Earth’s atmosphere naturally contains certain chemicals that trap heat from the
sun. This trapped heat is what helps warm the planet. Human activity is also
contributing to the greenhouse effect by adding more chemicals to the
These chemicals are causing the planet to warm more than it would on
its own. People are adding and increasing several types of greenhouse gases:
carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, among others.
These gases are
primarily released by burning fossil fuels for energy but gases are also
released from farms (raising livestock and fertilizing soil), landfills (as
trash breaks down over time, methane is released), leaking coolants (from air
conditioners and refrigerators), cutting down and burning trees, and some
factory methods. People produce more carbon dioxide than any other gas, and it
is responsible for most of the warming. Once in the air, these gases move around
the world. This means that the concentration of gases is about the same
throughout the world. Some countries produce more greenhouse gases than others,
but all are equally affected.
Climate change is an international problem because
the climate is a resource that all nations share and the effects of climate
change reach everyone. Immediate attention is required to stop our high levels
of greenhouse gas emissions.
Effects Of Climate Change On The Environment
- Sea Level Rising
- Natural Disasters
- Global warming
Ozone Layer Depletion
Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the
late 1970s: a steady decline of about four percent in the total amount of ozone
in Earth's stratosphere (the ozone layer), and a much larger springtime decrease
in stratospheric ozone around Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon is
referred to as the ozone hole.
CFCs and other contributory substances are referred to as ozone-depleting
substances (ODS). Since the ozone layer prevents most harmful UVB wavelengths
(280–315 nm) of ultraviolet light (UV light) from passing through the Earth's
atmosphere, observed and projected decreases in ozone generated worldwide
concern, leading to adoption of the Montreal Protocol that bans the production
of CFCs, halons, and other ozone-depleting chemicals such as carbon
tetrachloride and trichloroethane.
It is suspected that a variety of biological
consequences such as increases in sunburn, skin cancer, cataracts, damage to
plants, and reduction of plankton populations in the ocean's photic zone may
result from the increased UV exposure due to ozone depletion.
Consequences of Ozone Layer Depletion
- Increased UV
- Biological effects
a) Basal and squamous cell carcinomas
b) Malignant melanoma
c) Cortical cataracts
d) Increased tropospheric ozone
e) Increased production of vitamin D
f) Effects on non-human animals
g) Effects on crops
Green House Gas And Effects
The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's
atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be
without its atmosphere.On Earth, the atmosphere is warmed by absorption of
infrared thermal radiation from the underlying surface, absorption of shorter
wavelength radiant energy from the sun, and convective heat fluxes from the
surface. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere radiate energy, some of which is
directed to the surface and lower atmosphere.
The mechanism that produces this
difference between the actual surface temperature and the effective temperature
is due to the atmosphere and is known as the greenhouse effect. Earth’s natural
greenhouse effect is critical to supporting life. Human activities, primarily
the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have intensified the
natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming.
Effects of Global Warming:
- High temperature and severe weather
- Higher death rates
- Higher wildlife extinction rates
- Acidic oceans
- Higher sea levels
International Concern For Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is the organizing principle for sustaining finite
resources necessary to provide for the needs of future generations of life on
the planet. It is a process that envisions a desirable future state for human
societies in which living conditions and resource-use continue to meet human
needs without undermining the "integrity, stability and beauty" of natural
- Good Health and Well-being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being
for all at all ages.
- Life Below Water Conservation and sustainably use the oceans, seas and
marine resources for sustainable development.
- Climate Action - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its
- Life on Land - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of
terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification,
and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Past International Actions
Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change
Written by: Sayed Qudrat Hashimy
- The Kyoto Protocol (1997)
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by
setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
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
- The UN Climate Change Conference (2011)
The UN Climate Change Conference was held in Durban, South Africa (COP17,
from 28 November to 9 December 2011). The event provided an opportunity to
discuss how policy can be shaped to catalyses investment and engage the
private sector in financing climate change action, and will include a short
presentation of key messages from recent OECD work – stressing how private
sector investors need clear climate and investment policies and well
structured green financial instruments.
- International Law Student
E-mail: Sayedqudrathashimy[at]gmail.com , Mobile No.+91 900 8813333