Climate change is one of the most talked about issues today. Human societies have witnessed several climatic fluctuations with extreme weather events at unprecedented levels due to both natural phenomenon and human activities. Considering the frequency and intensity of climate change, people are demanding steady-state sustainable economy saying “keep the climate, change the economy”. To combat climate change, the implementation of technological solutions will not be difficult if there is sufficient political will and coordination on the parts of political leaders. Although advancement in science and technology is for the welfare of human beings, its use to fight climate change is yet to be prioritised. In today’s world, there is a growing competition among the countries to become economic power. And the most sought-after way to attain the status of the economic power is producing more energy and using it for industrial expansion and construction. So today, the climate change problem is assumed to be the by-product of human achievements in the technological sector rather than natural process. That’s why it requires human solution to this man-made problem. Climate change is primarily the consequence of the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. The other form of energy sources has indirect role in climate change and global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global mean temperature is likely to increase between 1.4 degrees Celsius and 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100, if the greenhouse gas emission continues at current pace. This can have profound consequences on the global hydrological system, ecosystems, sea level, crop production and related processes. Climate change has effect on both the supply and demand side. On the supply side, food production and protection measures against disasters are major issues whereas increased need for electricity and water are main issues on the demand side. Global warming is speeding up cycle of evaporation and precipitation. Evaporation is an important process in the global water cycle. To sustain human civilisation, measures must be taken immediately to control the present rate of increasing global temperature. Human beings must shift their energy use pattern from fossil fuels to solar and wind energy. The challenging alternative is in front of us, whether to choose “maximum gain for a few” or “minimum risk for all”. About 16.4 per cent of the world’s primary energy is provided by hydropower. Also, hydropower supplies about 71 per cent of all renewable source of electricity. Expansion of hydropower, however, is causing destruction of forest and agricultural land. And there are concerns that downstream areas could face flooding and dam explosion. Meanwhile, nuclear power reactors provide around 11 per cent of the world’s energy. They use Uranium as the fundamental element. This energy source is highly unsafe. If Uranium is diverted to make bombs, the eco-system is negatively affected. Biomass, another source of energy, constitutes about 10 per cent of the total energy. Over extraction of biomass energy through deforestation exacerbates the production of harmful gases. More than 70 per cent of global energy is consumed by a few developed nations and accounts for approximately 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. But the harmful effect is faced by many developing nations which have very little share in energy production and consumption. Thus, developing countries like Nepal are suffering the most, although they have insignificant contribution in release of greenhouse gases. The use of selected renewable energy should be increased in order to fight climate change. Due to technological innovations, the attraction towards wind and solar energy has grown remarkably in recent years. Further, the cost in comparison to nuclear energy is also low. In recent years, engineers, economists, environmentalists and political leaders are considering developing efficient technology by modifying or extending existing technologies so as to capture and store greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous-oxide without hampering the developmental and construction activities. The greenhouse gas emissions standard must be implemented for all countries. The use of electric, hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles should be given priority to cut down fossils fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. These technologies help to lessen the impact on environment by reducing carbon footprint. The improvement of GPS technology provides access to adequate information on climate change through advanced satellite mapping system. This helps governments and private institutions to devise and design appropriate methods to mitigate environmental footprints. We can redefine the infrastructure technologies for adaptation. Planting trees in urban areas, vertical farming and remote sensing systems to monitor deforestation are some of the areas to look at. Development of rail transport system, promotion of mass public transportation, construction of appropriate building standards and cluster homes and installations of industrial sites away from vulnerable areas are also some of the areas where we need to focus.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global mean temperature is likely to increase between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100, if the greenhouse gas emission continues at current pace
Climate change: We need to act now
Published: 11:56 am Mar 21, 2018