Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sneak preview....

Here are some of the very interesting and controversial topics we'll be covering this week; International policies on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and conventions on biodiversity, marine and wildlife conservation, cultural heritage preservation, air and water pollution.
As I go further into this environmental policy programme, the connections between science (organic chemistry, biogeochemistry and geophysics), economics, law, statistics, policy, and their various functions in relation to environmentalism become clearer. Also the importance of knowing how these various sectors overlap and intersect, with a view to understanding their various roles in policy formulation and implementation.
As I indicated in my opening paragraph, we will be looking at the various international policy instruments that struggle to find immediate and future solutions to environmental degradation, caused by emission of greenhouse gases which affect climate change, causing severe air and water pollution.
The two major international policies under the auspices of the united nations, are the Montreal Protocol which entered into force on 1 January 1989. The second major international policy is the Kyoto Protocol which came into being in 1997. The Montreal Protocol celebrated its 20th anniversary in Montreal, Canada, on the 16th of September, and has been in the spotlight very recently due to meetings held at the United Nations on September 24th, 2007, and later in the following week in Washington (US).
In a turn-around the US, who previously withdrew as a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, chaired the Washington meeting and promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2009. You can read more about this via the link below, to an article in a Japanese editorial. You can also google Kyoto Protocol and Montreal Protocol to read the full texts of these treaties. As well as an article in the New York Times titled ''From Ozone Success, a Potential Climate Model'', by Andrew C. Revkin.
In spite of the various UN treaties and conventions, as well as the ongoing efforts of developed countries to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that more work needs to be done by industrialised nations such as US and European countries to reduce atmospheric pollutants. China and India are also among nations that emit large volumes of carbon gases into the atmosphere due to very fast growing economies leading to mega-industries. China recently agreed at the meeting on September 18th, to work rigorously towards reducing carbon emissions caused by coal burning in the near future.
Developing countries are adversely affected by climate change. There is an ongoing debate about the problems developed nations are causing for developing countries through the greenhouse gas emissions. China and India are in the forefront with demands that US be made accountable for it's very high greenhouse gas emissions due to fairly recent advancements in fossil fuels and nuclear energy technologies. It is predicted that in the next 50 years, developing countries will exceed the West and Europe in air and water pollution, due to a rising shift of industries to countries with cheaper labour and less stringent environmental laws.

1 comment:

Susan Arthur said...

Hello Ije! glad to see you are still blogging when you are so busy.
Climate change is very topical right now and its a great thing to be studying it, I think back to the Live earth concert and wonder how much people (here especially) are doing about it - it will take a major mindset change I think!
Talking about the Kyoto protocol, can you believe that the US hasn't signed it!
When Zack (our US intern was here) he did a lot of research on climate change for Brunswick, it's quite comprehensive- more focused on how it affects SA businesses. If you want I can pass it on to you, just let me know.
Stay well - remember to take some time out every once in a while!