Back to News
|A climate deal at Copenhagen is in
sight. US President Barack Obama’s decision to attend the
international meet next month has given a new hope for a global
agreement on reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
The news has literally buoyed environmentalists working to save the
world from catastrophic affects of climate change. Obama’s Asian
diplomacy, perhaps, had prompted Washington to get soft on the
issue, and also bring on board China and India, whose participation
is seen as crucial to any successful negotiations. Now is the time
to ink a legally binding treaty, and help overcome the differences
over carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
The US president had earlier put cold water on expectations when he
said that a final package could not be completed in Copenhagen.
America and the West, who are major carbon emitting nations, will
have to do some critical balancing act to satisfy the international
demand for action to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set
emissions limits on 37 industrial countries. Moreover, it would be
naive to hope for concessions from the developing countries, nursing
grievances with manufacturing powerhouses that built vast riches
over 200 years, while spewing toxic gases into the atmosphere.
Notwithstanding political exigencies, Copenhagen provides an
opportunity to transform the prevalent developmental and energy
pattern with one that is pro-nature in essence. The Copenhagen meet
should not be another ceremonial get-together. It is seized of an
issue that is vital to the future of planet Earth and the very
survival of human race. The menace of global warming is already
taking a heavy toll, and low-lying countries such as Maldives and
Bangladesh are on the brink owing to rising sea levels. Similarly,
glaciers are melting worldwide, rapidly turning the ice continent of
Antarctica into an uninhabited barren landmass. The environmental
catastrophe needs to be thwarted — the sooner the better.
World leaders cannot afford the luxury to sit back and indulge in
intricate discourses. Rather they should get down to freeze the
climate change instantly, if not reverse it altogether. And in doing
so the US cannot abdicate its role. Not only Obama has to forge a
consensus on carbon emissions on behalf of the industrial northern
hemisphere, but also see to it that wealthy countries came up with
generous monetary contributions to build the required infrastructure
for the poor countries. Experts say a staggering $150 billion a year
will be required to meet the task.
How Copenhagen construes political, technical and financial
compulsions of climate change is anybody’s guess. But one thing is
for sure: the global meltdown cannot be stalled through
declarations. It’s time for action. Copenhagen is in need of firm