Environment and climate change
Environment and climate change in the world, including Korea and India, falls in the domain of human resource development which is essential for sustainable development.
On World Environment Day today, we need to understand not only the main issues in the traditional area of the environment but new challenges posed by the climate change. We need to treat this issue as input in the processing of output of any good.
For environmental management, I believe that pollution has emerged as a serious public health concern across the world. Economic development without environmental considerations can cause serious environmental damage, in turn impairing the quality of life of present and future generations.
Such environmental degradation imposes a cost on society and needs to be explicitly factored into economic planning, with necessary remedial measures incorporated. The challenges of sustainable development thus require integration of our quest for economic development with environmental concerns including climate change.
Environment management in Korea and India has, over the years, recognized these sustainable development concerns including sustainable human development with quality of life for the people.
Climate change, as a global environmental problem has been receiving intense political attention at domestic and international levels. Climate change is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
Increasing levels of fossil fuel burning and land use changes have emitted, and are continuing to emit, greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) into the atmosphere. These increasing emissions have caused a rise in the amount of heat from the sun trapped in the Earth's atmosphere, heat that would normally be radiated back into space.
This has led to the greenhouse effect, resulting in climate change. The major characteristics of climate change are a rise in average global temperatures, ice caps melting, changes in precipitation, and an increase in ocean temperatures. The efforts needed to address climate change include the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions on the one hand and the building of capacities to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change on various sectors of the economy.
According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007), over the century, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide increased from a pre-industrial value of 278 parts per million to 379 parts per million in 2005, and the average global temperature rose by 0.740 degree Celsius. Projections indicate that global warming will continue and accelerate.
Thus climate change represents additional stress on ecological and socio-economic systems that are already facing tremendous pressure due to rapid economic development. With climate change, the type, frequency and intensity of extreme events, floods, famines and droughts is expected to increase.
Climate change has enormous implications for the natural resources and livelihoods of the people everywhere. It will have wide-ranging effects on environmental, socio-economic and related sectors.
Addressing climate change is a major challenge in terms of policies and resources needed to address it at domestic and international levels.
Our environmental standards are set through government policies aimed at a development process that is environmentally sustainable and foregrounds the well-being of the people.
The need of the day is to understand the relationship management between nature and human beings in all aspects of life including behavioral pollution that is more serious than air and water pollution. Let us treat poverty as a most serious pollutant in India and elsewhere in the world with empathy (not sympathy) as a humanistic behavior.
To survive, sustain and progress in peace in all times to come, every effort has to be made for environmental consciousness at all levels of operation in the economy with cost effective approaches (economy in execution of the environmental programs) along with faithfulness and wisdom as advocated by noted economist, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.
The writer is a professor of economics and dean of the faculty of social sciences at Kurukshetra University, India. His email address is email@example.com.