GLOBAL WARMING – A THREAT TO PRESENT AND FUTURE
WITH REFERENCE TO KYOTO PROTOCOL
Global warming one of the biggest and most challenging issues face by us in this century. It is an issue which is discussed and debated with very importance, as it will leave a mark in the coming generations. In lecture “a threat to our shores”, Sir David Antony King, chief scientific advisor to U.K. Government said that in the past 60,000 years CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing at a frightening level. The CO2 concentration has risen by 30% since industrial revolution. If the CO2 concentration has increases in this manner it would leads to the melting of ice caps, rise in the sea level and as a result there will be a thespian change in the world’s map. The frequency of the rapid precipitation, floods, droughts, fires, pest outbreaks and severe cyclonic storms will go up with an increasing in global warming. The oceans commonly called the ‘memory’ of earth’s climate system, which covers 72% of the earth’s surface, provide a solid evidence for global warming. Oceans can absorb a great amount of heat and sequester it at a depth for many years before circulating it back in to the atmosphere. GHG emissions have caused the oceans to heat up considerably over the last 50 years. Results of climate modeling studies can give strongest evidence that the earth’s climate system is responding to human induced forcing. The Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its recent report, has estimated that the earth will warm between 1.40 C and 5.80 C between 1990 and 2100 with most land areas warming more than the global average. The sea level is projected to increase from 8 to 88 centimeters between 1990 and 2100.
Researchers already been reported that Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean have collectively warmed up an average of 0.060C since 1955. Quoting recent assessments by the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change set up jointly by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the WMO said the global average surface temperature was to estimated to have increased by about 0.6 degrees Celsius over the 20th century, about 0.15 degrees Celsius larger than what has been estimated till now. As a result of climate change due to global warming, the glaciers on the Atlantic peninsula are shrinking rapidly. Around 87% had retreated in the last 50 years, before that the glaciers were increasing/growing in length.
One of the major reasons for global warming is the increase in the level of atmospheric CO2. The global warming potential of CO2 is 1. Loss of carbon from soil can accelerate global warming. In the case of warmer soil there will be an enhanced microbial activity and a rapid decay of organic matter leading to rapid discharge of gases. The current concentration of atmospheric concentration of CO2 is about 366 ppm is itself dangerous. But due to anthropogenic emissions this concentration is increasing. Few ecosystem adapt to such a change in the level of CO2 of 550 ppm in the atmosphere, equivalent to an increase in temperature of 30C, which would result in the destruction of half of the world’s nature reserves and fifth of costal wetlands.
In 1988 World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly established the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for studying the problems of global warming and for taking preventive actions for the same. During the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, the countries signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and it entered into force with its ratification in March 1994. The convention has signed by about 190 countries listed as Annex I countries and Non- Annex I countries to UNFCCC. A meeting is conducting in each year for the parties and is called Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC (CoP). In the third conference of the parties (CoP-3) in Kyoto, Japan held in 1997, a protocol to UNFCCC was approved known as Kyoto Protocol. According to the protocol the Annex I parties has to reduce their green house gas emissions (GHGs) between 2008 and 2012 by 5.2% below their 1990 emission levels (Article 3). This is the first commitment period given to the parties by the protocol. The Non- Annex I countries has no Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Commitments (QELRCs) during the first commitment period.The Kyoto Protocol legally entered into force on February 16, 2005 with the ratification of the protocol by Russia in November 18, 2004. The protocol now covers a total of 169 countries and other governmental entities have ratified the agreement and 61.6% of global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, as on December, 2006.