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HEATHERLYN’S HABITAT: Reducing harmful gases


HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON

HEATHERLYN’S HABITAT: Reducing harmful gases

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THERE ARE hundreds of greenhouse gases but not all are dangerous to the Earth’s atmosphere.

But for those that are, said the Peruvian Minister of the Environment and president of the upcoming 20th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the objective is to get an agreement which is legally binding for all countries and which guarantees a reduction in those greenhouse gases.

Speaking through an interpreter, Pulgar-Vidal told journalists that the objective of any climate change policy was to reduce the level of harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The question, he added, was how much responsibility should the developed world shoulder, compared to developing countries.

“The CPDR (Centre for Philosophy of Law) implies some countries have more responsibility than others. No one disagrees with the principle of the CPDR but how do we create the differentiation?”

He said the earth had seen an increase of .085 degrees in its temperature in the past few decades and the scientific curve showed that by 2030, that temperature would rise by 3.7 per cent.

It was because of this that states needed to cut emissions, he said.

“Ninety per cent of climate change caused by humans started in the industrial era and because of it, the solution has to be by humans,” Pulgar-Vidal noted, adding however that discussion on climate change must be held in conjunction with discussions on development.

He stressed that the upcoming conference, to be held in the South American country in December, would be different to the last conference in Copenhagen which “was recognised as a failure”.

“The planet will not hold one more time a situation like Copenhagen. Lima has certain expectations as the host, as the presidency and we have a great expectation. We want a draft to come from Lima, so that that draft can go to Paris.”

In addition, he said the role of regional journalists was important, cautioning that reporting “must be accurate and engaging, but most of all it must be engaging”.

Meanwhile, deputy regional director of UNEP regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mara Murillo also issued a warning.

“We cannot keep consuming the way we are consuming. We cannot keep emitting because in the next few years we will have half a billion people displaced from their homes,” she said.

 

GREENHOUSE GAS EFFECT

AFTER MORE THAN a century of industrialisation, the Earth is reeling under the effects of global warming.

And six greenhouse gases have been the cause – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). They are caused by deforestation and emissions from the burning of fossil fuel combustions.

At the Kyoto Protocol, which was negotiated in Japan 1997, countries agreed to reduce the emissions of those gases by 5.2 per cent by 2012. Its provisions were legally binding on the ratifying nations.

However, the follow-up Copenhagen Protocol, signed in 2009 and which suggested that emissions be reduced by 35 per cent by 2030, was not legally binding.

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