Thursday,21 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1240, (2 - 8 April 2015)
Thursday,21 February, 2019
Issue 1240, (2 - 8 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Fighting for a sustainable world

FRENCH journalist Hervé Kempf has been keeping track of climate change for a quarter of a century. The author of Comment les riches détruisent la planète, or How the Rich are Destroying the Planet (2007), he spoke about the challenges of coping with climate change.

According to Kempf, temperatures on the planet have remained stable for nearly 12,000 years. But since the 1800s, when the Industrial Revolution began in the UK, France, Russia, and the US, emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been rising exponentially.

Last year, the concentration of carbon dioxide measured in Hawaii was 400 parts per million, up from 280 parts per million six decades ago. A series of earth summits may have raised awareness of the problem, but no binding agreements have been reached on greenhouse gases so far.

The US, one of the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions per capita (China is number one in absolute terms), has so far refused to sign an agreement. According to Kempf, the average American produces 18 tons of greenhouse emissions per year, compared to 11 tons in Europe and four in Egypt. In China, currently the world’s largest polluter, the figure is six tons.

Some good news came last November when China agreed to start controlling its emissions. But one of the main obstacles to limiting emissions is funding. According to Kempf, the world needs to raise US$100 billion per year to keep greenhouse gas emissions in check in the industrialised world alone.


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