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Climate change: A major global threat

By Isidoros Karderinis  

Climate change, that is, the change of the global climate and in particular the changes in meteorological conditions that extend on a large time scale, is a major global existential threat.

The greenhouse effect causes the increase of temperature of the planet primarily due to the tremendous increase in carbon dioxide, which has increased by 35% since the beginning of the industrial revolution. And of course the lion’s share in pollution of the atmosphere with 50% of all carbon dioxide are Europe and North America. All other countries together are responsible for the other half, while the poorest countries are the least responsible. However, it is the people who live in these countries who will suffer more strongly of the consequences.

The causes of climate change are mainly identified in combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gasoline, natural gas, etc.) which account for 50% of total emissions, in the production and use of synthetic chemicals, in disaster of forest areas which contributes to the production of additional gases in the atmosphere and of course to the greenhouse effect by 15% and in conventional agriculture and livestock farming, which account for 15% of emissions.

Expert scientists ring the danger bell and warn that if there is no urgent global coordinated action by political leaders, governments, industries and citizens around the world, the temperature of the planet is likely to rise above 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels by 2060 and the increase could even reach 5°C by the end of the twenty-first century, fact that will make the lives of future generations problematic.

Such an increase in the temperature of our planet will have a devastating impact on nature, bringing about irreversible changes in many ecosystems and consequent loss of biodiversity, that is, all living organisms and species that make up life on the planet, that is, animals, birds, fish and plants (fauna and flora). Many species are expected to disappear from areas that will be directly and severely affected by climate change.

Today, compared to 1850 – from when recording data began – a temperature increase of 1.1°C is observed. So, it is of vital importance that the increase does not exceed 1.5°C, because as scientists estimate, beyond this crucial point there will be no way back.

Climate change, however, which is due to human activities, is a tangible ominous reality and is already adversely affecting our planet. The sectors responsible for the production of greenhouse gases are primarily the sector of energy produce (units of production of electrical power, refineries) but also industrial activities, the modern means of transport (cars, airplanes, etc.) and the activities of the primary production sector.

So, the extreme weather events, the uncontrolled fires in forests such as the Amazon that have been characterised as the “lung” of the planet, the heat waves, the heavy rainfall, the prolonged droughts that create serious eating problems in the affected areas of the planet, the very powerful hurricanes, are becoming constantly more regular and of more intensively, costing tens of thousands of lives every year and causing huge disasters.

The ice and at the poles are melting, with the Arctic being the biggest victim to date, and the world average sea level goes up, as a result causing floods and erosion on coasts and lowland coastal areas, creating environmental refugees. If this unfavourable development continues, areas such as the Netherlands and Venice will be at risk of being permanently lost under the sea waters as new Atlantis.

Climate change also increases existing diseases worldwide but also creates new ones, and can also lead to premature death. Too many diseases are particularly sensitive to temperature change. To them included communicable diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, encephalitis and dengue fever, but also eating disorders, mental illnesses, cardiovascular diseases as well as respiratory diseases.

Climate change will also have negative impacts on the economies of the countries given the fact that the high temperatures undermine the productivity of most sectors of the economy, from the agricultural sector to processing. Valid scientists predict that by the end of the century, global GDP will have fallen by 7.22% from what it would have been without climate change.

Teenage Swedish activist against climate change, Greta Thunberg has managed in the most vigorous and loud way to pass the debate over this huge problem, by the heads of state and government and public dialogue, in society and in the friendly discussions, mobilising millions of people around the world, especially young people, who began to demonstrate demanding by governments the immediate taking of measures for the confrontation of climate change.

Swedish MPs rightly suggested her for the Nobel Peace Prize. And of course, Greta Thunberg is right when she says that the measures are being taken to reduce greenhouse gases and, above all, carbon dioxide are not sufficient.

So, what are the appropriate measures to be taken without delay to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and keep the temperature at + 1.5°C?

The basic policies for mitigating the problem consists in promoting and utilising renewable energy sources (wind, solar, biomass, etc.), enhancing energy efficiency, the drastic reduction of the exploitation of oil and gas deposits and the imposition of carbon taxes in order that to limit the use of fossil fuels and thereby to reduce significantly carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050 at the latest, the rapid reduction of emissions of methane, carbon black and other short-lived pollutants that burden the climate, the restoration and protection of ecosystems and, above all, forests.

The Paris Agreement, the first universal, legally binding agreement for the climate, entered into force in 2016 with great optimism and manifest ambitions, despite the official US departure statement, which are one of the biggest polluters. Four years have passed since then and there are no substantial results, fact which raises serious questions as to whether there is really the political will to tackle this particularly threatening global problem.

In closing, I would like to emphasise that the effects of climate change will be so dramatic that human civilisation will be in danger to collapse just like a paper tower. So, in the face of this extremely dangerous climate crisis, the citizens around the world should increase their mobilisation even further and the political leaders to finally stand up at the height of the circumstances and take immediately the necessary drastic measures, before it is too late, to reverse this unsustainable course and save the planet.

Isidoros Karderinis was born in Athens in 1967. He is a novelist, poet and columnist. He has studied economics and has completed postgraduate studies in the tourism economy. His articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and sites worldwide. His poems have been translated into English, French and Spanish and published in poetry anthologies, in literary magazines and literary sections of newspapers. He has published seven poetry books and three novels. His books have been published in USA, Great Britain, Spain and Italy.

Facebook: Karderinis Isidoros

Twitter: isidoros Karderinis

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8 comments

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  1. Jude Dodd

    Good article but with two problems: english needs some work (he needs a friend to edit it), and not specific to Australia or even the southern hemisphere!

  2. Keith

    Permafrost is thawing much more quickly than expected, the thawing process adds much more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We simply cannot afford the Morrison “government”. Terrible as it might seem we need the Senate to threaten to withdraw Supply, if no real action takes place, then carry out the threat. Development of the Carmichael Basin and fracking provides huge risks. Morrison pushed the question onto Bill Shorten just prior to the last election about the costs of climate change … we are now seeing the costs accrue less than a year after the election.

    If the wish is to push the terrible effects of climate change, then the business as usual paradigm is the way to go. The business as usual paradigm means more natural extremes – drought, floods, bushfires, erosion through sea level rise. We were warned decades ago by scientists about how climate change intensifies. Extreme ideologically driven politicians are the main problem. Morrison belongs to the extreme group. The way to get rid of them quickly is via a new election, the alternative is completely stuffing up the future of young people. Omnicide is the result from a business as usual approach.

    The sixth extinction has begun, what is Morrison going to do about it? It is human caused.

  3. Michael Taylor

    Jude, I put my hand up for not editing this properly. It was slack of me.

    I don’t have a problem though with the article not being specific to our country or our hemisphere.

  4. Phil Pryor

    The article is useful and relevant, and any comments to follow derived from it may be applied to Australia if one cares. The problem is huge, but observation of it sees us offer solutions and some seem simple. We have too many people and the numbers increase. 83 million per year is about a Germany in potential impact, and Germany, among others, uses and abuses a huge load of resources. One study suggests that we can utilise c. fifty billion tonnes p a. of resources, with waste, emissions, construction, recycling, etc, accounted for.., but, we are already using c. seventy billion tonnes p a, and the emerging people and nations want more consumption, more goods, usages, opportunities. We are losing now and it will get worse as rates of excess and abuse rise. We move people and goods too much, but our cultures have been so shaped. e g, I’ve bought a can of Italian tomatoes for under one dollar, and it and its components have travelled immense distances, with immense industrial effort and at huge cost to the environment. People seem to be flying, cruising, holidaying, emitting, casting aside and generally ploughing on as usual without much thought or change. (I’m doing a bit less and can cut more…) Only a combined, concerted, world political movement and commitment will help, and it will face routine, convention, orthodoxy, corporate resistance, financial fightbacks, consumer resentment, ignorance.

  5. Keith

    I think our excuse for a government gets away with a lot of climate change nonsense through taking a silo approach. They are aided by a compliant press. We need to know what is happening overseas. How would it be if the coronavirus had not been discussed far and wide? In the same way climate change has a world wide impact.

  6. New England Cocky

    @Phil Pryor: Uhm ….. How do you expect parasitic capitalism to operate when your solution is local production of essential items including food close to the markets so that the positive economic effects of cash flow are passed around in the local economy?

    Just look at regional towns and cities ….. national and international retail chains have branches servicing the local market and exporting the profits to distant metropolitan cities and even overseas. Consequently, the about 3.5 multiplier for spending in local family businesses does not enter the local economy reducing overall cash flow and eventually killing off local regional businesses.

    Certainly over-population and automation with robots are the cause of these problems because those factors eventually minimise the number of production centres that can profitably operate in the world, even with unlimited population growth.

    I agree that conservative self-interest and conceptual immobility will prevent any rectification soon.

  7. Phil Pryor

    To the big Cocky (not B Joyce??) I’m with all you say; remember, we have no time for lengthy dissertations, so my sketch is merely a start of a beginning of a commencement of an opening to a long difficult argued discussion. I feel we will get nowhere, until and unless it is too late for avoiding real harm. My comments are hardly a solution or a possibility.

  8. New England Cocky

    @Phil Pryor: … It is not nice to call everybody from New England “Barnaby”. From too hard experience I suggest that I am the nightmare that Barnyard hopes to avoid when he (rarely) shops in Armidale supermarkets.

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