What is Climate Change(2)?

Who or what governs the climate change?

  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC)
    • an international treaty negotiated during the Earth Summit, Rio(1992).
    • Objective: stabilize Green House Gases(GHGs) in the atmosphere–>this would help limit anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
    • Under this convention, parties(countries–>197 in number), have met annually since the year 1995 to :
      • negotiate the agenda of limiting and cutting the GHG emissions in the coming years.
      • Limiting the rise in temperature till 2 degrees centigrade till the end of 21st century,that is 2100.
    • The summit is called Conference of Parties(COP).
    • Till now, 21 COPs have been convened.
    • Last was COP21 in Paris, France(2015); Next would be in Marrakesh, Morocco(2016).
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC):
    • Formed in 1988 by two bodies of UN–>UN Environment Programme and World Meteorological Department.
    • Role: to scientifically assess the impact of anthropogenic activities on climate change and also the options for adaptation and mitigation.

What steps could be taken to mitigate the impact of Climate Change?:

The following steps could be taken in order to mitigate the impact of climate change:

  • Scientific steps:
    • Sources of energy
      • Alternative sources of energy including renewable sources like:
        • Solar energy.
        • Wind energy.
        • Nuclear energy.
        • Biomass energy.
    • Climate engineering 
      • An artificial way of tweaking climate such that the impact of climate change is mitigated.
      • Includes : a.)using solar reflectors (b.) removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
        • Solar reflectors: would reduce the amount of insolation by reflecting the solar radiations. Aerosols(particles suspended in air) could be intentionally placed to achieve this.
        • Removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by using Carbon Capture and Storage(CCS)–>capturing CO2 and storing it in a geological formation  such that it could not come out.
    • Rationalizing agriculture:
      • Organic farming: cutting down the usage of nitrogenous fertilizers to check the NOx emissions.
  • International agreements:
    • Kyoto protocol(COP 3) called for :
      • historical responsibilities(the developed/industrialized nations which are the mainly responsible for climate change must take major chunk of responsibility in mitigating them).
      • Technological assistance also meant to be provided by developed to developing.
      • However, it did not fructify much due to the objections of the developed nations.
    • Paris Agreement(COP21), 2016:
      • Accounted for the historical responsibilities.
      • Also, re-emphasized on the technological assistance of $100 bn.
  • National Level Commitments and support:
    • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions(INDC), which are the commitments stipulated by all the parties regarding climate change mitigation.
    • These include emissions cuts, creating sinks, using energy efficient equipments, reducing temperature etc.
    • Improving fuel quality by blending it with ethanol(this reduces CO emissions).
    • Promoting electric cars.
    • Incentivising green energy resources and equipments.
  • Urban Planning:
    • Eco-friendly buildings and roads:
      • Green buildings –> a.)eco-friendly materials like using fly ash bricks(do not require baking, thus emissions are reduced) b.)Using solar panels for energy needs (c)smart metering–> to create a feedback mechanism between home and grid–>this would ensure consumption of only required  energy.
      • Roads: Plastic instead of tar to be used in road construction. Cement roads could also be considered.
    • Developing natural carbon sinks through afforestation. Trees take in carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis. This natural process of sink of carbon dioxide is called Biosequestration.
  • Individual changes:
    • Lifestyle changes like switching to vegetarian diet: This, according to scientists could reduce the per person per day emissions to less than half.
    • Using energy efficient electrical equipments like LEDs.
    • Switching to electric cars. Even prefer cycles and walking if possible.

The need is for concerted and collective efforts towards mitigating the impacts of climate change. While the efforts at macro level are continuing, we at our level must understand our part and act accordingly.




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