Many of the participants at COP 17 do not appear to acknowledge that a binding agreement on climate change is a matter of life and death. Failure to address climate change will cause mass starvation and completely inundate some island nations.
Climate change will also seriously impede the earth’s ability to provide the basic requirements of life like food and potable water.
“For most people in the developing countries and Africa, climate change is a matter of life and death,” South African President Jacob Zuma said at the opening of the COP 17 conference.
“Africa has contributed least to the buildup of greenhouse gases globally, but will be in the frontline of the adverse effects of climate change,” said Edna Molewa, South Africa’s minister of environmental affairs at the start of the summit. “Many Africans unfortunately already have firsthand experience of the suffering that climate change can cause,” she said, adding: “Finding a workable way forward is the defining issue of this conference.”
In the Arctic, climate change is already making life very difficult for the Inuit. Climate change is making it nearly impossible for hunters to forecast the weather from signs in nature. Climate change is also causing ice to melt unexpectedly and the snows to come late. The thinning ice has already almost killed one man from Arviat when his snowmobile broke through the ice and he fell into the frigid waters below.
If left unchecked, global warming will lead to the extinction of polar bears and in the absence of action on emissions reductions, humans are sure to follow.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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