6 December 2012

Africa: Urgent Warning On Climate Change

Doha — Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, says the world should collectively take responsibility for the challenges posed by climate change.

Ban, who made the remarks on Tuesday during the meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 18th Conference of Parties (COP18) High Level Segment, in Doha, Qatar said: "We collectively are the problem."

"We are in a race against time to stay below the agreed threshold of 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels that will avoid the worst impacts of climate change," said the UN Secretary General.

He said every delay means greater future effort or greater future harm.

Greenhouse gas (caebon) emissions are currently, reportedly at the highest level they have ever been.

"Acting now makes better economic sense. That is why it is imperative to act with urgency and clear purpose in these negotiations and in our countries, our cities, our businesses and our homes," Ban added.

The UN head hopes for key deliverables such as a ratifiable second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, progress on long-term climate finance, setting up of the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Technology Centre and Network, that legally binding agreements remain on track, that governments show how they intend to act on the gap between mitigation pledges and what is required to achieve the 2 degree centigrade target.

Ban called for the speeding up of the transformation that needs to happen and that negotiations continue towards a more robust climate regime.

"Let us abandon apathy and embrace ambition. Let us take inspiration from the solutions we see around us and from the transformations that we know are possible," Ban urged.

Extreme weather conditions have prevailed all over the world, which are believed to be the cause of climate change and global warming.

Thousands of world citizens lost their livelihood or even their lives in these extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, typhoons, mudslides, droughts and floods in recent times.

Moreover, a startling report on additional global warming as a result of thawing permafrost was revealed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during the ongoing conference on climate change.

The report reveals that permafrost covering almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere contains 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon, twice which is currently in the atmosphere.

Warming permafrost can cause serious local problems, such as infrastructural damage as a result of unstable ground, as well as ecological damage.

Permafrost is soil that has remained below 0 C (32F) for more than two years and occurs in regions where the summer warmth fails to penetrate the ground sufficiently to thaw the soil.

These conditions prevail in high-latitude or high-mountain areas that cover roughly a quarter of the Earth's land surface - including Alaska, Canada and Siberia.

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