South Asian Media Net
COLOMBO: The Government is expected to introduce a
Green Trust to help overcome the effects of climate change. “We are
trying to introduce a Green Trust as a local adaptation fund, from next
year onwards” revealed Minister of Environmental and Natural Resources
Champika Ranawaka while adding that an estimated 70 percent of all
natural disasters in Sri Lanka were linked to climate change.
The Minister made this revelation at the launch of the Human Development Report for 2007/2008, held on Thursday at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations, under the theme of ‘Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World’.
Despite being a small country, climate change can result in the migration of populations from the dry zone to wet zone, and the Northern and Eastern coastal populations inland in the long run. Water resources, agriculture, health in the form of vector born diseases and coastal areas in Sri Lanka will receive the biggest blow from climate change.
Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, Prof. Mohan Munesinghe, said that hundreds of millions of people will be affected if nothing is done about climate change. “The time for action on adaptation is now, just as it is for mitigation” he said while adding that the proportion spent on adapting to climate change should match the GDP of the country and needs to grow accordingly. Improving the resilience to sustainable development can improve the mitigation. “Binding mitigation to adaptation is the way forward in sustainable development” he said.
Prof. Munesinghe said when the IPCC first started; development and climate change were totally different themes. But today it has been learnt at the fourth assessment out this year, that climate change and development should be dealt with in an integrated way. “This is exactly what the UNDP report says and it is music to our ears to hear a powerful organization repeat and stress this fact” the Prof noted.
He added that as part of a vicious cycle the climate affects development and development in turn affects the climate. To combat this, two filter mechanisms need to be introduced; the adaptation to survive in this bad climate and mitigation to reduce emissions. “These are two tools humans have against climate change” the professor said adding that it is human action that has caused this problem and it is human action that will find a solution. He said there are many definitions of ‘sustainable development’. And instead of debating ‘what sustainable development is’, steps should be taken to move towards it.
Prof Munasinghe also illustrated how developed countries have increased their carbon emissions in respect to their increase in per capita income. They have exceeded the safe limits. Developing countries need to follow a new path referred as the ‘tunnel’, where same level of development is reached without burdening the environment. “Environment and climate change should not block development.”
Global warming has resulted in an economic crisis, which in turn has become a political crisis in countries like Australia. Climate change has particularly affected poor Asian and African countries. “There has not been adequate response to global warming, particularly in the developed countries, which are the major contributors with their high level pollution.” He added that most international treaties are mere ‘political covers’, which is evident by the almost non-response towards the climate problem.
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