Divya Iyer, CNN-IBN, Updated 2049 hrs IST (+GMT 5:30), 16.02.06
New Delhi: Global warming is at your doorstep. And climate change is a reality in India.
As the Kyoto Protocol completes one year on Thursday, CNN-IBN’s Divya Iyer brings this exclusive report on how global warming is impacting our lives.
Like all the farmers in Ratapani, Pauri Garhwal, Pushkar Singh Negi’s feilds are lush green. Negi says it’s the blessing of the river.
A few hundred kilometers downstream, in Gajewali village near Haridwar, fifty-five year old Sita Ram couldn’t agree more.
Beginning at the Gangotri, the Himalayan Glacier fed Ganga is the lifeline for millions of people in Northern India. But locals are now worried about how long it will last. The air, water and wind around them have suddenly begun to change.
"When we were small, we used to wear two to three sweaters and keep ourselves warm with the fire. But now, wearing just one sweater is sufficient," says Negi.
The rapid retreat of the Himalayan glaciers may affect the economic development of the country as a whole. But the real impact of global warming are likely to be felt more at the local level.
Sita Ram agrees there has been a change is the environment: "Earlier, we had a lot of work, we used to grow corn and sugarcane. But now, there is no sugarcane. All we have is paddy and wheat."
Flora and fauna for the rural folk, and energy and water crisis and simple climatic changes in the urban cities – the outcomes of global warming are looming large.
And this is what is worrying the scientists world over. Global warming and increased emissions by the developed countries is creating havoc in the global atmosphere. And we sitting here are feeling the heat.
Senior Policy Officer, Climate Change and Energy Programme, Samrat Sengupta, says, "The water security and the food security will be a problem. And also teh government has planned a huge amount of hydel energy development. Based on this, the availability of water will be in question."
Last year, The Kyoto Protocol came into force. But scientists say it’s a lame effort. The US has still not signed on the Kyoto protocol – an international legislation aimed at curbing gas emissions.
Director, Centre for Science and Environment, Sunita Narain, says, "You need to cap world emissions at 440 parts per million. We are currently close to 360-370. But today, the world is saying we cannot cap it at 440."
As India modernises, climate change will affect all of us. So, next time you you buy that SUV, remember, it releases nearly twice the emissions. And before reaching for the ACs this summer, think of the big hole its burning in the sky.
Here’s what you can do to reduce climate change:
* Buy new energy efficient refrigerators that use 40 per cent less energy.
* second New compact fluorescent ‘spiral’ bulbs that are 75 per cent more efficient.
What is the Kyoto Protocol?
* The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol provide the international framework for combating climate change.
* The UNFCCC, the first international measure to address the problem, was adopted in May 1992 and came into force in March 1994. So far 189 governments – almost all governments in the world – have ratified it.
* It obliges its Parties to establish national programmes for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to submit regular reports. It also requires the industrialised countries among the Parties – but not developing countries – to stabilise their greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000.
* The UNFCCC Parties meet annually to review progress and discuss further measures, and a number of global monitoring and reporting mechanisms are in place to keep track of greenhouse gas emissions.
* When they adopted the UNFCCC, governments knew that the commitments would not be sufficient to seriously tackle climate change. On 11 December 1997, they took a further step and adopted a protocol to the UNFCCC in the Japanese town of Kyoto: the Kyoto Protocol.
* The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of 6 February 2006, 160 countries and the European Community have ratified the Protocol.
* Three countries that originally signed the treaty have not ratified: the US has rejected the Protocol, whereas Australia has decided not to ratify it, and Monaco has not yet ratified.
* This means there are 35 developed countries and the European Community that are obliged to reach their Kyoto targets.
(Inputs from http://europa.eu.int)