Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day or just another Gimmick

World celebrated Earth Day with gusto as students, common people and governments showed lots of enthusiasm for the day. However does such events and celebrations serve their purpose or are just a way to overlook grave danger and desist responsibility...


Global concentration of carbon dioxide is now nearly 385 parts per million. Preindustrial carbon dioxide levels hovered around 280 ppm until 1850. Human activities pushed those levels up to 380 ppm by early 2006. Though no one can accurately predict the tipping point at which global catastrophe will occur, since 2000, annual increases of two parts per million or more have been common, compared with 1.5 ppm per year in the 1980s and less than one ppm per year during the 1960s, according to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.

Common perception about containing global warming and reducing GHG emission ranges from the use of bio-fuels, controlling industrial emissions using economic methods like carbon tax, emission trading, shifting to cleaner sources of energy and most important of all self restraint. People all over the world highlighted the cause by following an international blackout last month for an hour along with lots of interactive and educative sessions in schools, colleges and public places on Earth Day. However does these things really help in any appreciable manner in the fight against global menace???

Answer is big NO. The problem of global warming is too big to be checked by such glitzy events and blackouts. Infact these lead people into misplaced sense of contributing towards the cause and diverts the attention from more important problems and alternatives. While the supporters of such events claim that they educate the masses about the ill effects of global warming, what is the benefit of such events if the same people relapse into high energy consuming life style the next day?? In fact the wasteful amount of energy, money and time spent on these events could be diverted into more useful channels.

Many important changes must be brought into the common thinking about present day environmental problems. First of all inspite of all these doomsday projections about global warming, why it is that the research papers giving counterviews are not highlighted. There is no benefit of exaggerating the impact of emissions and first a transparent and accurate estimate of the problem must be made. Only then and not by frightening, we will be able to convince the masses about the problem at hand.

Also steps must be taken to introduce personalized carbon trading by every government .Individuals who exceed their allocation (i.e. those who need more emissions credits than they have been given) would be able to purchase additional credits from the open market, and individuals that are under allocation can sell. Proponents of personal carbon trading claim that it could increase ‘carbon literacy’, thereby allowing individuals to make a fair contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It could allow the burden of reducing emissions to be shared evenly throughout the economy, rather than focusing all the attention on business and governments and having more impact than Earth Day like festivals. Only such steps will make masses more restraint in energy consumption.

On commercial and industrial front carbon markets must be made more transparent and misuse of carbon credits like mentioned in an article by Charles Forelle(WSJ) must be checked. In no way the process should appear like the transfer of responsibility from developed nations to developing world. Efforts must also be made in checking emissions from bottoms-up industrial level by improving efficiencies of industrial technologies and shifting to greener energy sources.

Only such sustained efforts on the part of governments, industrial houses and common people will help us to check the menace of global warming in a timely manner or not many Earth Days will be left to celebrate for our future generations...

8 comments:

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