The year 2013 was not a good year for the climate but it was an important and worrying one when it comes to climate change, because scientists who collaborate on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told us clearly in a report that was released at the end of September that global warming today is the result of human activities. The first part of the IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report, which examines the physics of climate change, told us that it is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010. The reported noted that continued greenhouse gas emissions (mainly carbon dioxide CO2, methane CH4, chlorofluorocarbons CFC’s and nitrous oxide) would cause further changes to our climate system. According to the IPCC, extreme weather events like storms, floods and droughts are to become the ‘new normal’; and it is already happening. This summer heavy monsoon rains triggered major floods yet again in Pakistan.

Therefore, East Africa is currently suffering from the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years. Two months ago, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines and this Christmas, a half of million people in US and Canada were without power due to a severe snow storm. The UK is currently bracing itself for more winter storms and floods. It is evident today that our use of hydrocarbon fuels (oil, coal, gas) since the middle of the 18th century has cost us dearly. The greenhouse gases released by the burning of these fuels have been trapped in our atmosphere. They have formed a blanket around the planet, causing global average temperatures to rise. Scientists tell us the thicker the blanket, the higher the temperature rise. We need to come together as a region and advance the issues at the global level. We need to participate in the global process with clear understanding of local realities.

ENGR. DILBAR DETHO,

Shikarpur, January 22.