Environment

'Healthy climate essential to sustainable environment'

'If we cause serious change in climate, that would affect entire environment, life on earth,' says climate scientist

Burak Bir   | 05.06.2020
'Healthy climate essential to sustainable environment'

ANKARA

A stable climate is indispensable for a healthy and sustainable environment as the climate is the most important factor that determines life in the world, according to an expert.

Speaking on the occasion of the World Environment Day, Levent Kurnaz, a professor at the Center for Climate Change and Policy Studies at Istanbul-based Bogazici University, said climate is a must and the key factor playing role in habitable planet as well as the environment.

Organized by the UN Environment Program, World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 over 100 countries, to encourage global awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

The theme of this year's day is "Time for Nature" which focuses on the role of nature in providing the key infrastructure that supports sustainable life on the planet.

"The food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature," the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said earlier in a statement, referring to this year's theme.

Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNEP mentioned that these are exceptional times in which nature sends the world a message: "Now it is time to care of nature, because when we take care of nature it takes care of us," Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UNEP, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Explaining why the climate should be prioritized for a habitable planet, Kurnaz stressed that it is important that there is oxygen in the atmosphere, that the earth orbits the sun, but these are the things that cannot be changed.

"Whereas you can change the atmosphere, structure and climate of a planet", he said, adding: "If we cause a serious change in the climate, that will impact the entire environment and life on earth".


'Worst thing' for planet

In light of these facts, people are currently doing the "worst thing" that can be done to this planet through climate change, Kurnaz said.

The expert also said climate change is not the only cause of problems we are facing right now, however, he added, when the effects brought by climate change are combined with people's indifference or inability to do something, the situation turns to a "real disaster" due to such as poverty or political problems.

Giving some recent examples, Kurnaz referred to the cyclone Amphan that hit Bangladesh-India on May 20, and desert locust swarm in Africa, which are among clear results of climate change.

Kurnaz said that if these countries had adequate structure and took adequate steps in time, the incidents would not have been exacerbated to this extent.

To keep the environment healthy, and the planet habitable, "we need to take climate change under control as soon as possible, [if possible] within a few years, so that we can begin to repair the damage," he stressed.

However, he added, the world seems to be getting worse due to climate change as even the countries's commitments to stop global warming, such as reducing carbon emissions to the atmosphere, is not enough to heal the world.

"Even if everybody keeps his word, the world will be warmed up by 3 degrees Celsius, and we will be in a much worse situation than we are now. So the whole world urgently needs to take much harder measures," he added.

Responding to questions on COP26 climate meetings postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic, he thinks that results of this year's climate change conference will not be any different from the previous one.

Worldwide, the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 391,000 people, with total infections in 188 countries and regions reaching over 6.67 million, while recoveries exceeded 2.89 million.

Hosted in Spain, the 2019 COP25 climate meetings were seen as "failure" by many academics, NGOs, scientists and activists in the field, as there was no expected outcome on sanctions against carbon emissions.

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