Thursday, August 20, 2009

Climate change problem to test our civilization

Most of the scientists across the globe keep telling us that climate change is one of the biggest problems in the entire human history, and how only united world lead by developed countries has the chance to overcome this big challenge. The leading theory of why is climate change happening today is connected with world’s industry or to be more precise with excessive use of fossil fuels such as oil and coal. Fossil fuels when burn create harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) that end up in the atmosphere where they increase greenhouse gas effect. The simplest solution to climate change problem would be if world would stop relying on fossil fuels to satisfy global energy demand, but in current circumstances this is really an impossible to expect.

Fossil fuels like oil and coal, are traditional fuels with long history of use which means that they have strong lobbies that support them. This of course makes difficulties to development of the renewable energy sector. On the other hand renewable energy sector, though promising, is still at least couple of decades away before being strong enough to compete with fossil fuels for satisfying energy demand. There is really almost no doubt that world energetic future lies in the renewables but the real question is will climate change wait that long before showing its true scary face.

If we are to believe different climate models if nothing changes by the end of this century we (and our future generations) will see tremendous problems caused by climate change, not only in form of extreme weather events and sea level rise, but there also won’t be enough food and water to supply population on our planet, and many will die because of it. In some parts of the world temperatures will be extreme and droughts will ruin crops (Africa), in other glaciers melting will cause serious flooding and on the long run there won’t be enough water (most of Asia). Negative things won’t just happen in Africa and Asia, other continents will also be affected with more frequent extreme weather events such as hurricanes, sea level rise, and totally unpredictable weather that will make life extremely difficult.

If we look at it from the ethical point of view then climate change definitely looks to have the potential to judge the foundations of our civilization. How we approach this problem will determine the true values our civilization was built upon. Were these values all about greed and money or do they involve true moral values like caring for others and caring for the health of our planet?

What industry really represents is greed and money, basically doing anything that would bring more profits regardless of price that has to be payed to achieve that extra bit. If we accept the fact that current climate change is really man-made phenomenon caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions then industry must take the blame for it, and try to fix it as soon as possible in form of drastically reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Can we expect this from the industry? Not very likely.

You see, industry is closely connected to politics and politics is the game of giving promises to get more time so they could give even more promises. Let us just look at the new climate deal that should be agreed later this year. At first politicians were promising drastic CO2 cuts but the closer we are to this deal the smaller CO2 cuts are being talked about. At the end I really wouldn’t be surprised if this new climate deal ends up like its infamous predecessor the Kyoto protocol.

World sadly still cares much more about the money than solving urgent environmental problems. It is like there is always enough time to deal with environmental problems but all that involves finances and economy must be sorted straight away. Take this latest financial crisis for instance. Once mighty dollar was at stake we saw rapid actions, bunch of solutions and billions of invested dollars but when there’s talk about climate change there always seems to be more than enough time to deal with this problem.

Is our civilization really so shallow, build on money and greed, or we still have noble values that are hidden somewhere, waiting to step out from the shadows? It really won’t take long to discover the answer to this question. Maybe even at the end of this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment