ICE Circle would like to express its thanks to Vijay Mehta for compiling and writing the following reports, which have been specially prepared for the ICE Circle website:

• From Here to Eternity
• BRIC and Africa
• Europe and USA
• Carbon Markets
• Industry Sector pages
• Technology Sector pages



Forthcoming book

‘THE CLIMATE CHANGE REVOLUTION’

By Vijay Mehta


The threat of global warming is so grave it has the potential of
destroying our civilisation. The effects of climate change are already
apparent with increased incidence of floods, storms, droughts, water
shortage and rising sea levels; phenomena that is expected to grow in severity over the course of the century which is likely to hit the
world’s poorest the hardest, a unique angle which the book explores.

Most scientist now agree that world average temperatures may
rise by between 2-6 degree Celsius this century due to emissions
of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels such
as electricity and is mostly influenced by human activities. The collapse
of the Greenland ice sheet and the disruption of the Gulf Stream ocean
current are two very real threats that could cause mayhem long before 2100. The Artic may become entirely free of sea ice within 3-4 decades. The melting Siberian permafrost is now pumping millions of extra tonnes
of methane and carbon dioxide leaking into the atmosphere.

The principal reason for the mounting rising temperature is a century and a half of industrialisation, the burning of ever greater quantities of oil, gasoline, and coal, the cutting of forests, the practice of certain farming methods, and impact of the military on the environment. These activities have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

The world has woken up to the seriousness of the problem and from 1990’s onward we had the Earth Summit in Rio (1992) and Earth + 10 Summit in Johannesburg (2002). In between, in 1997, we had the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which contains legally binding emission targets. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. It lays down the international response to climate change, reduction of greenhouse gases, an implementation plan of clean development mechanism (CDM), promotion of technology transfer, research, public awareness, education and training.

Not enough progress has been made in curbing C02 emissions as the USA and Australia are not signatories to the treaty, and the rapid industrialisation of India, China and other developing countries continues.

Another obstacle is the fact that developed countries are not implementing their commitments of cutting their carbon emissions under the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) by not supplying enough funding and technology to developing countries for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

The book explores global warming and its effects. It deals with the scale of the climate change problem, the dangerous interference of human activity, and ways of dealing with it. The book is in four parts. It deals with the biggest polluters like the aviation, car and construction industry using the fossil fuels and the damage it is causing to the planet. It gives an assessment of the climate change science from 1990 onwards till today which states it is man-made. It covers the extensive damage global warming has done to our biodiversity, habitat, clean water supplies, forest, desert loss, and threats to coastal and marine environment. There are further threats to security and sustainable development, along with rising migration and refugees.

It focuses on the obstacles and hazards for launching a green revolution and how different countries, rich and poor, are trying to cope with the adverse effects of climate change. They can be termed as lack of political process and coordination, individual, corporations and countries with vested interests, financial constraints and the lack of universal agreement holding back the process.

The challenge of global warming is to save billions of poor people of the world from food and water shortage, hurricanes and typhoons. The extra burden of climate change could be placed on developing countries, at the same time, while they are struggling to feed their populations, develop their economies and complete the Millennium Development Goals.

The challenge of this century is the pursuit of how we can achieve environmentally sustainable development in an unequal world. The highest goal is for the developed and developing countries to work together in collaboration. The rich countries need to lead the world in shifting to a low-carbon economy and taking effective action immediately to curb emissions globally, otherwise the scale of GHGs will be devastating.

The poor are suffering the impact of climate change for which they are the least responsible, and it makes a huge case of moral inequality against which the rich nation-states must take responsibility. The wealth of the industrialised nations has been built in the last 150 years by the excessive use of carbon emissions. So they have a duty to take immediate actions to reduce them and help poor countries with aid and technology to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

The book deals with public awareness of stopping climate change. It explores educational programmes, finding creative solutions, for ways of stopping ozone depletion, protecting soil erosion and deforestation. It lays down the solutions for developing cleaner energy and climate security by exploring innovations, renewables, and low carbon initiatives. Among the solutions outlined are biofuels, wind turbines, solar panels, recycling waste, green tax, carbon trading to mention a few.

The book looks at the potential and opportunities for greener, cleaner, safer future. It also looks at a future Kyoto agreement, which should be mandatory on all nations and global CO2 reductions should be negotiated to the tune of 60-80 per cent to be achieved during the period of 2030-50. It charts the case for new political momentum for streamlining operations, creating a global treaty with a global perspective and global fund to find solutions for environmental challenges for saving our planet.

The appendices of the book include summaries of the Kyoto Protocol, the Earth Summit (1992), Earth Summit +10 (2002), the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCC), the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, and a future Kyoto agreement.

The book emphasises that climate change is real and time is running out for halting global warming. We have to take radical steps to halt the process now. It would be considered a failure of responsibility if the world stood still and let our planet be destroyed. It is morally and ethically wrong to use any more energy without either replacing it or curbing the greenhouse gases (GHG) as all emissions used will only be adding to the already serious problem. What we need is collective leadership, a vision and a concerted universal action plan which can save us from the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

This is what the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, April 2007, has to say about the worst effects of climate change:

Humanity will be divided as never before by climate change, with the world's poor its disproportionate victims, the latest United Nations report on the coming effects of global warming made clear yesterday.

Existing divisions between rich and poor countries will be sharply exacerbated by the pattern of climate-change impacts in the coming years, predicted in the study from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 1

Notes

1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up by the World Meteorological Organisation and United Nations Environment Programme to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. Its fourth assessment report ‘Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability is published on Friday 6 April.






Vijay Mehta MA is an author and global activist for peace, development, human rights and environment. His books include, ‘The Fortune Forum Code: For a Sustainable Future’, ‘The United Nations and Its Future in the 21st Century’, and ‘Arms No More’.

He is president of VM Centre for Peace and co-founder and trustee of Fortune Forum charity which works for the eradication of poverty, environmental sustainability, halting the onslaught of diseases, protection of human rights, and peacebuilding.

He is chair of Arms Reduction Coalition, co-chair of World Disarmament Campaign and Vice Chair of Action for United Nations Renewal. He is a member of the council of International Peace Bureau (IPB) and National Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

He works with civil society, international organizations, governments, businesses as well as with peace, human rights, environment and development groups.

His latest book, “The Fortune Forum Code: For a Sustainable Future” explores the themes of global poverty, environmental sustainability, worldwide diseases and peacebuilding. It states that in our interconnected world a future built on the foundations of mass poverty in the midst of plenty is economically inefficient, politically unsustainable and morally indefensible. The international community should work on reducing conflicts, protecting human rights, promoting democracy and good governance as key ingredients to sustainable development.

Here is a quote from the Independent newspaper, 26 September 2006:

Vijay Mehta lends intellectual credibility to the project and wrote "The Fortune Forum Code for a Sustainable Future", a sort of manifesto that will underpin the group's future activities. "All the things we are trying to achieve have people who are concerned enough to help with."



To access more about his main areas of work visit:

www.vmpeace.org
www.fortuneforum.org