The Climate Change Revolution
By Vijay Mehta
The threat of global warming is so grave it has the potential of destroying our civilisation. The effects of climate change are already apparent with increased incidence of floods, storms, droughts, water shortage and rising sea levels; phenomena that is expected to grow in severity over the course of the century which is likely to hit the world’s poorest the hardest.
Most scientist now agree that world average temperatures may rise by between 2-6 degree Celsius this century due to emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels for power and transplant and is mostly influenced by human activities. The collapse of the Greenland ice sheet and the disruption of the Gulf Stream ocean current are two very real threats that could cause mayhem long before 2100. The Artic may become entirely free of sea ice within 3-4 decades. The melting Siberian permafrost is now pumping millions of extra tonnes of methane and carbon dioxide leaking into the atmosphere.
Al Gore’s film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, and the Stern Review, have made the world aware of the urgency of the situation. It has brought us to the realisation that just through man-made emissions alone, we have the preconditions for bringing human life and all other life to an end.
The principal reason for the mounting rising temperature is a century and a half of industrialisation, the burning of ever greater quantities of oil, gasoline, and coal, the cutting of forests, the practice of certain farming methods, and impact of the military on the environment. These activities have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
The world has woken up to the seriousness of the problem and from 1990’s onward we had the Earth Summit in Rio (1992) and Earth + 10 Summit in Johannesburg (2002). In between, in 1997, we had the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which contains legally binding emission targets. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. It lays down the international response to climate change, reduction of greenhouse gases, an implementation plan of clean development mechanism (CDM), promotion of technology transfer, research, public awareness, education and training.
Not enough progress has been made in curbing C02 emissions as the USA and Australia are not signatories to the treaty, and the rapid industrialisation of countries like in India, China and other developing continues.
Another obstacle is the fact that developed countries are not implementing their commitments of cutting their carbon emissions under the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) and also to supply enough funding and technology to developing countries as they think this has lower priority than economic and social development and dealing with poverty.
The book, ‘The Climate Change Revolution,’ deals with the problem of global warming and its effects. The introduction deals with the scale of the problem, the dangerous interference of human activity, and ways of dealing with it. The book is in four parts. The first part deals with the biggest polluters like the aviation and car industry using the fossil fuels and the damage it has done to the planet. It gives an assessment of the climate change science from 1990 onwards till today which states it is man-made. It covers the extensive damage global warming has done to our biodiversity, habitat, clean water supplies, forest, desert loss, and threats to coastal and marine environment. There are further threats to security and sustainable development, along with rising migration and refugees.
The second part focuses on the obstacles and hazards for launching a green revolution. They can be termed as lack of political process and coordination, individual, corporations and countries with vested interests, financial constraints and the lack of universal agreement holding back the process.
The third part of the book deals with public awareness of stopping climate change. It explores educational programmes, finding creative solutions, for ways of stopping ozone depletion, protecting soil erosion and deforestation. It lays down the solutions for developing cleaner energy and climate security by exploring innovations, renewables, and low carbon initiatives. Among the solutions outlined are biofuels, wind turbines, solar panels, recycling waste, green tax, carbon trading to mention a few.
The last part of the book looks at the potential and opportunities for greener, cleaner, safer future. It charts the case for new political momentum for streamlining operations, creating a global treaty with a global perspective and global fund to find solutions for environmental challenges for saving our planet.
The appendices of the book include summaries of the Kyoto Protocol, the Earth Summit (1992), Earth Summit +10 (2002), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCC).
The book emphasises that climate change is real and time is running out for halting global warming. We have to take radical steps to halt the process now. It would be considered a failure of responsibility if the world stood still and let our planet be destroyed. It is morally and ethically wrong to use any more energy without either replacing it or curbing the greenhouse gases (GHG) as all emissions used will only be adding to the already serious problem. What we need is collective leadership, a vision and a concerted universal action plan which can save us from the catastrophic consequences of climate change.
Arms No More
By Vijay Mehta
The book exposes the hideous global arms trade and charts ways to curb its proliferation and promote global peace and security. It examines global threats posed by spread of small arms, light weapons and weapons of mass destruction in bringing terror, wars and conflicts worldwide. It puts forward the case for the reduction and eventual abolition of all weapons to end military superiority and enhance global peace and human security.
The launch of ‘Arms No More’ was held at a reception in Euston, London. It was attended by Bruce Kent, vice president (CND), Stansilav Patedji, prominent peace activist from Czech Republic and delegates from the World Social Forum in London. One of the highlights of the evening was a performance by musicians.
The United Nations And Its Future In The 21st Century
Vijay Mehta (Editor)
To survive the 21st Century the UN needs to go through radical reforms or die and go the same way as its predecessor League of Nations. In the words of Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN, ‘We have come to a fork in the road. This may be a moment no less decisive then 1945 itself, when the UN was founded’.
The up coming 60th anniversary of the United Nations in 2005 coincides with a worsening world situation where it is needed more then ever. This book is a timely reminder of the indispensable role the United Nations plays to the advancement of international peace and security. It includes contributions from eminent academics, UN professionals, and politicians who chart the role how the UN should be organise itself to become an effective world institution. Contributors include:
• Jayantha Dhanapala
• Sir Richard Jolly
• Professor Ramesh Thakur
• Razali Ismail
• Patricia McKenna
• Judge Rosalyn Higgins QC
• Dame Margaret Joan Anstee
• Professor Paul Rogers
• Denis Halliday
• Caroline Lucas MEP
• Dr Jenny Tonge MP
The launch of the UN book, was held in Friends House with keynote speaker, Judge Rosalyn Higgins (president of the World Court). Among the contributors of the book were Margaret Anstee (former under secretary-general to the UN), Jayantha Dhanapala (former under secretary-general for Disarmament Affairs), Dennis Halliday (former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq), Rosalyn Higgins (president of the World Court), Razali Ismail (permanent representative of Malaysia to the United Nations), Richard Jolly (former special advisor to the administrator of UNDP), Caroline Lucas MEP, Patricia McKenna (former MEP), Paul Rogers (professor, Bradford University), Ramesh Thakur (senior vice rector of the United Nations University) and Jenny Tonge (former UK MP).
Published by Spokesman for Action for UN Renewal.
Overall, this is a most valuable contribution to the current debate over the future of the United Nations, and deserves to be read at least once by everyone who takes an interest in current events. Richard Lawson.
The Fortune Forum Code: For A Sustainable Future
His latest book, ‘The Fortune Forum Code: For a Sustainable Future’ explores the themes of global poverty, environmental sustainability, worldwide diseases and peacebuilding. It states that in our interconnected world a future built on the foundations of mass poverty in the midst of plenty is economically inefficient, politically unsustainable and morally indefensible. The international community should work on reducing conflicts, protecting human rights, promoting democracy and good governance as key ingredients to sustainable development.
“Vijay Mehta lends intellectual credibility to the project and wrote “The Fortune Forum Code for a Sustainable Future”, a sort of manifesto that will underpin the group’s future activities. “All the things we are trying to achieve have people who are concerned enough to help with.” The Independent (London), 26 September 2006.
This book was launched at the inaugural philanthropic summit of the Fortune Forum. Vijay Mehta is co-founder and trustee of Fortune Forum charity. The event was attended by Former US President Bill Clinton, Deepak Chopra, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) and its founder, Renu Mehta. The event received extensive coverage by the international press and media network. This can be viewed at www.fortuneforum.org.
It offers an alternative holistic path to international peace and security, by offering a change of relationships in which unconscienable poverty, peace and security depend on universal adherence and respect for human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil rights.