Climate campaigners in weather pollution

E-mail Print PDF

Suleiman Mustapha

Life, they say can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted.
That seems to be the statement from the weather gods to illustrate the effects of global warming, as fierce storm coupled with heat-trapping carbon that rose to record levels in the atmosphere, gripped the opening session of the UN climate negotiations in the east coast city of Durban.

The storm on the eve of the talks flooded shack settlements that killed at least five people in the port city hosting the international gathering of climate campaigners.
Well, that is because, the nice and calm weather of Durban has been disturbed with the noisy and chaos convergence of some estimated 15,000 delegates, who have gathered in Durban to salvage the only treaty limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Critics have questioned whether the climate wouldn’t have been better served and much more conserved if the army of campaigners including journalists from about a hundred and ninety countries had not burnt carbon through whatever mode of transport to South Africa.
It’s a legitimate question, isn’t it, especially for a summit that is expected to achieve little outcome due to the major rift between some of the world’s biggest polluters.
The climate or weather would have been safe and free of 99,000 tons of carbon dioxide burnt from the round-trip flight of the estimated 15,000 delegates who have converged in Durban, each burning a share of 6.6 tons of carbon dioxide.

The level of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere has reached record levels, according to the US department of energy.
The figures reveal that the global output for greenhouse gasses is even higher than scientists feared, highlighting the difficulty facing climate campaigners in pushing for industrial counties to reduce their emissions.

Around 564m tons more carbon was pumped into the air in 2010 than in 2009, a 6 per cent rise with China and the US responsible for more than half of the increase
The level of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere has reached record levels, according to the US department of energy.
The figures reveal that the global output for greenhouse gasses is even higher than scientists feared, highlighting the difficulty facing climate campaigners in pushing for industrial counties to reduce their emissions.

Around 564m tons more carbon was pumped into the air in 2010 than in 2009, a 6 per cent rise with China and the US responsible for more than half of the increase
With Information, Communication Technology (ICT) performing wonders around the world, couldn’t negotiators, climate campaigners, journalists or even protestors spare the world, the huge tons of carbon emissions from the long trip to Durban?.

Again, what happens to the tones of rubbish those tasked to bring about climate sanity gather?
Has each climate apostle stopped for a moment to think of where the tons of waste including the throw away leftover food, paper, packaging and plastic bags and cloths they generate end up.
The most common method of dealing with domestic waste is to put it in landfill sites. Layers of waste are tipped into the site, crushed with bulldozers and then covered with soil to stop it blowing away, smelling bad or attracting flies.

Gradually most of the waste starts to rot, with bacteria breaking down the biodegradable material.
Domestic waste can become dangerous when it is not properly disposed of. Litter pollution is a growing problem.
As the rubbish rots it gives off a mixture of gases, mainly methane with some carbon dioxide. Not only does this gas contribute to global warming but if it builds up in nearby buildings or drains it can cause explosions, so it must be collected by pipes and burned off safely.

An alternative to landfill is incineration (burning) of waste but this can have polluting effects too. As waste is burned it releases toxic substances called dioxins into the air. When the burning is complete 10-30 per cent of the original weight of the rubbish is still left as ash. This ash has to then be disposed of in landfill sites.
The reality is that international climate negotiations have remained stuck on the same issues for over 15 years, going back to the original negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol, which was supposed to reduce carbon output by signatory countries by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels.

Back then — to sketch out the different sides broadly — Europeans were pushing hard for comprehensive carbon cuts, major developing countries mostly just wanted to ensure that they wouldn't be required to do anything, and the U.S. was skeptical about the whole process.
In the end — thank in part to some last-minute negotiations by then Vice President Al Gore — the Kyoto Protocol was signed, mandating carbon cuts by 2012 among developed nations while setting up climate aid for developing ones.
The truth is that, if the Durban summit succeeds to achieve something, it may not be the final, if it fails, it is not fatal, but the courage to continue the negotiation process in a discipline and environmental friendly manner is what counts.

 

Facebook


ZFacebook - Free Version
  • Photo Title 1
  • Photo Title 2
  • Photo Title 3
  • Photo Title 4
  • Photo Title 5