Global Warming: Our Policies and Our Future

Imagine a giant asteroid on a direct collision course with the earth; that is the equivalent of what we face with current realities as it concerns climate change. In the words of Barrack Obama, “climate change is changing faster than our effort to address it…we are the first generation to feel the impact and the last generation that can do something about.” It is for this reason I will not be drawn to the dichotomy of any scientific truth to what is responsible for the mess in which the earth finds itself. One thing that is evident is the stunning scientific evidence emerging that supports the reality of this. According to data released by the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) on Monday, 11th September 2016, the month of August was recorded as the hottest “august” when compared to other years. Prior to this it was revealed that the month of July was the hottest month in the last 136 years. This we might think as trivial variation in temperature. But when we look at the enormous danger it portend, we are force to stop and ask the crucial question of what policies should we implement to address this global problem. But before we can effectively dissect this problem and proffer prolific solutions, we need to know how we got to this point…How did the earth got to this mess?

The greenhouse effect had been well understood for more than a century. British physicist John Tyndall, in the 1850’s, made laboratory measurements of the infra-red radiation, which is heat. And he showed that gasses such as CO2 absorb heat, thus acting like a blanket warming Earth’s surface. If we think of CO2 as blanket on the bed of the atmosphere absorbing heat that should leave the earth’s surface, then increasing the thickness of this blanket is the last thing we should think of
doing. Obviously, the reverse has been the case. With the industrial revolution and the discovery of fossil fuels that characterize the twentieth century, the activities of man has made worse the situation. However, there is more we can do in terms of policy to address this.

I was at a conference hosted by a Swiss cosmologist, talking about dark energy and its nearly 70% proportion in the universe. For me, that proportion was much and I decided to ask him a question: “What if, in the future we are able to have access to the dark energy for daily activities, how clean will this energy be?” His response obviously, was science for science sake. If we think of science for humanity sake and policies for humanity sake, then we will be more serious with the advocacy for clean energy, there will be a sense of responsibility ignited in us. Thanks to Costa Rica blazing the trail in terms of clean energy; just last year the country recorded 299 days of electricity supply generated not through fossil fuels but clean energy; renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric etc. effectively used to power the country. This is impressive but we must not be restricted to electricity, what about clean energy in transportation? We must implement policies that
emphasize optimal use of the renewable source of energy, policies that discourages the falling of trees, policies that ensures consequences for every atom of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere. We must be committed to reduce the thickness of this blanket in the atmosphere in a more strategic manner and with all sense of urgency. We owe this to our children, grand children and great grand children, a planet that is habitable and a future that is safe.

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