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Melting Earth Collective efforts are required to address the crucial challenge of global warming

Updated: May 3, 2010 1:41 pm

This book is a unique compilation of discourses by the world’s most influential policymakers and thinkers on the most critical issue that define our era: The environment, the climate change and the need for sustainable development. The range of views expressed by a wide spectrum of influential leaders making plea for the need to synergise mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development. According to the fourth assessment report, warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is not evident from the observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and rising global sea level. Most of the observed increase in temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentration.

            Climate change represents the greatest environmental threat facing the planet. This occurs naturally as well as due to human activities. The projection is that global warming in this century is likely to trigger serious consequences for mankind and other life forms. Dr Pachauri regards climate change as the defining challenge of our age, as it is a critical moment in global development and advocates the need for a sustainable development. Another environmentalist opines that the world is getting hot, flat and crowded. According to Al Gore, climate is already impacting the lives of the people across the world in the form of a change in the distribution and spread of precipitation. He believes that some people in the media treat it as a political issue, but in fact it is a moral issue requiring all of us together to solve it.

            In the fourth chapter, another environmentalist expresses his belief that green is good for the economy and the most important thing is to get everybody on board and to realise that we have only one planet to share. He suggests that if we move towards a low carbon economy, the coming generations will thank all of us. In the next chapter, the speaker advocates the need to move beyond the old and uncompromising positions as a stage has reached when we cannot afford inaction. The task ahead of us is of enormous importance but our collective efforts can bring us a step closer to meeting this crucial generational challenge. Further, Ban Ki-moon feels that humanity is at crossroads and there is need for leadership, commitment and ingenuity to effectively address these challenges. He opines that UN must play a key role in addressing these challenges, as these challenges know no borders and covers entire humanity.

            Kofi Annan is of the view that we live in a global village and all of us have the responsibility to protect the planet, and so insists that those who are responsible for this pollution must pay for it. Pollution has a cost and it must be borne by the polluters. In the chapters that follow, environmentalists maintain that what happens in a country is what happens to the planet. They advocate for a strong international action, as it is humanity’s final opportunity to deal with this challenge of climate change unitedly. One of them specifically pinpoints that Africa is bearing the brunt of global climate change and needs special support from the international community. Olafur Regnar Grimsson brings in optimism in the efforts to contain environmental pollution. Paul Crutzen proposes to introduce atmospheric chemistry for climate in the Anthropocene. Mr Nitin Desai deals with the economic and historical perspectives of climate change. A noted environmentalist suggests that while responding to climate changes, the principle of common and differentiated responsibility should be observed. The book concludes with the desire of an environmentalist that we should leave a better planet for our future generations.

The Energy and Resources Institute, Darbari Seth Block, IHC Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003

By Prof KD Sharma

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