Same urgent cooperation needed on Climate Change as the Ozone Layer

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is urging the international community to cooperate on climate change in the same way that they united for the protection of the ozone layer.

In the 1980s, computer models predicted a global disaster if no action was taken to protect the ozone layer against synthetic ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

On 16th September, the UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer commemorates the signing of the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol, which are the most widely ratified multilateral environmental agreements to date.

Thanks to the 191 nations working together, a full recovery of the protective ozone layer is expected between 2060 and 2075.

Now the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management calls for similar universal participation in a global climate deal that reflects the urgency of climate change, which has been described by some scientists and policy makers as the most significant environment issue of our time. The world must demonstrate a response proportionate to the threat by focusing on urgent climate change adaptation measures, as well as on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The CIWEM calls for December’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to strengthen international agreements on climate change to ensure greenhouse emissions are capped and reduced in a meaningful manner.

The CIWEM’s Executive Director, Nick Reeves, says: “The protection of the ozone layer is an environmental and public health victory. But now we need government representatives worldwide, academic institutions, industry and civil society to work together to fight climate change. As scientists have predicted we are experiencing, simultaneously, extreme weather events around the world, which are causing unprecedented drought conditions, water scarcity, melting of the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and flooding. There is no time to lose - the era of procrastination is over. Unless we cut our carbon emissions and invest in adaptation measures, we face a desperate fight for survival. We must tackle the causes of climate change, as well as deal with the inescapable consequences. The COP 15 must result in an ambitious global agreement incorporating all the countries of the world.”

While computer models were nicely modeling the supposed impacts the CFCs were to be having on the Ozone Layer and as regards to the “hole in the Ozone Layer” we must not forget that the only reason that hole became visible – though no one told the world that – was that finally our satellite technology could pick it out.

What I am trying to say here is that the hole may have been there always and may have been changing size for ever and a day. In fact it may just be a safety valve of the Planet.

Aside from that, as well, we are concentrating too much on “Climate Change” and combating it and reversing it (something that I very much doubt we will be capable of doing whatever) to the detriment of all other environmental schemes.

Our primary aim must be to clean up the Earth and make it livable again. The pollution that we inflict on the Planet and on us all may kill off the Earth – or more like us and all life – well before any Climate Change has any real destructive impact.

The problem we are face with is that too much effort is being exerted on the Climate Change issue and not enough on cleaning up the environment. While some talk about it, such as for instance the great Pacific garbage patch, nothing is being done about it, such as the latter.

Cleaning that mess up should be possible and it should be something that we should really concentrate upon for what good would it be if we can get the global temperatures under control and still have no longer a livable Planet?

The time to act is now.

© 2009