Climate change and rising temperatures
11-Nov-2017


Climate Change Conference is in progress in Bonn, Germany which is being attended by participants from more than 200 countries of the world including national climate change Ministers and senior government officials who are sitting together, reviewing and finalizing what can be done and what should be done to thwart the ill impacts of climate change and bring a lasting equilibrium on the fast devastations to the finite global resources, which we are consuming with great haste. 

We need to know that the last five years in the world were the hottest on record mainly due to our continued polluting activities. The evidence and meteorological record show that heat waves, floods and rising sea levels are stoked by man-made climate change as confirmed by the United Nations weather agency WMO. 

Some freak weather events would have happened naturally but the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have raised the risks of happening of extreme events, sometimes by a factor of 10 or more. This figure is very alarming while the year 2017 will soon be ending breaking the previous record of hottest year of the century. Earlier 2016 was the hottest year in the historical record. 

The last five-year period beat 2006-10 as the warmest such period since records began in the 19th century. The intense heat wave in 2015 and 2016 has killed a number of people around the globe in different continents. It is quite alarming to know that 8 of the world’s 10 deadliest heat waves have occurred since 1997. As per rough estimates around 140,000 people died during the past two decades.

The current Climate Change Conference is tasked with implementing a 2015 global agreement to combat climate change. The worst scenario is linked with rising heat and is accompanied by a gradual rise in sea levels spurred by melting glaciers and ice sheets. The WMO has mentioned that such changes “confirmed the long-term warming trend caused by GHG”.

The 2015 Paris Agreement set an overriding target of limiting warming to “well below” 2 degrees C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times, ideally just 1.5 (2.7F). On the other hand, the UN data shows that the pledges made by nations so far to curb greenhouse gas emissions are too weak and put the globe on target for about 3C (5.4F). The on- going meeting is trying to work out ways to step up actions and targets for the Paris Agreement.

We need to understand that temperatures are rising 10 times faster than during the last ice age. Fifteen of the hottest sixteen years on record have occurred in the 21st century. So let us prepare for 2017 which might set another record. Climate change phenomenon is happening and is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of heat-waves. 

While, participants will be discussing the subject of climate change in Bonn, an important outcome is to understand the impacts of climate change and act individually and as a community to reduce our carbon footprint rather than wait and see what others have pledged and what they are doing. 

We need to understand that we are facing a global emergency and need to immediate plan, mobilize and implement actions to safeguard our planet and future generations. 

Let us join voices, hands, hearts, talents and our creative abilities to prevent the looming catastrophe from climate change. Start making a few small changes and reduce GHG by:

- Changing light bulbs with energy efficient LED lighting

- Buying energy efficient appliances and replacing old electronics and machines. 

- Using efficient insulation material in buildings.

- Reducing our waste, reusing and recycling whatever we can.

- Use water efficiently and avoiding any leaks.

* Head of Waste Disposal Unit, Supreme Council for Environment, Kingdom of Bahrain (Email: rahmed@sce.gov.bh)


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