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The Climate Change Imperative

Why is Climate Change an important issue?

Shrinking polar caps. Floods in the Philippines. Droughts in India.

All three occurred in different regions but connected by one common cause-climate change. This is a serious global issue and like other events which have threatened our way of life such as viral pandemics and terrorism, we have to come together to mitigate the situation with what we can control.

Climate change is real, urgent and severe. In the past few years, developments in climate science and increasing observable occurrences of extreme weather events have brought climate change to the forefront of the global agenda. The 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has conclusively demonstrated climate change is unequivocally human-induced. Despite this, measures being implemented so far have been woefully inadequate.

Climate change is perhaps the gravest issue our generation has yet to tackle. Global greenhouse gas emission levels have increased by 70% between 1970 and 2004. Following this trend, it is expected that the global average temperature will rise by 1.8 to 4.0°C by 2100. It has been further speculated that an increase in temperature by 2°C can have catastrophic effects on our climate and ecosystem.

Effects will be experienced, at worse, in our future and definitely by future generations.  Climate change is therefore an issue that must be tackled by our generation NOW.

The impacts of climate change range from sea level rise, melting ice caps and glaciers, biodiversity loss along with increased incidences of drought and flooding. This in turn is already leading to more agricultural shortfalls, endangered water security and the spread of vector-borne diseases.[1]

Yet, climate change is no longer solely an environmental problem.  Rather, it is a challenge that spans the economic and geopolitical horizons. Changes in earth’s atmosphere which increasingly destabilizes the global climate will have a significant bearing on the future of food scarcity, water stress, the prevalence and intensity of diseases and the loss of homelands, natural wonders and livelihoods around the world. In this regard, climate change will have a profound impact on human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights such as the right to life, security, food, and health. At the same time, efforts to mitigate the causes and effects of climate change are raising complex questions on the economic rights of nations to prosper and improve the lives of their people.

There is not only an environmental imperative to act but also a moral, social and even economic one as the world targets to support around 9 billion people in 2050.

[1] UNFCCC report

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