New article “Climate Change – it is time for a global agreement” by Steliana Nedera Deputy Resident Representative UNDP Serbia, published in the Politika daily 27th November 2015
As we go deeper into winter, everyday talk turns to preparations for colder days and memories of winters from the past and our childhoods. But, these changes of season mask a trend, the seriousness of which scientist and then the general public has started to understand to its full extent during the last few decades. It is a trend which is increasingly becoming visible directly, with the naked eye: climate change.
Climate change brings a long term increase in average temperatures across the planet and in Serbia, a greater frequency of extreme weather events, as well as changes in precipitation.
We need to understand that this a problem caused by human activity. Meaning, a problem caused by the increased emissions of green house gasses, at a tempo which is much faster than the ecosystem of Planet Earth can absorb. These gasses retain the heat from the Sun in the atmosphere to such an extent that the average global temperature is already higher by almost one percent compared to the preindustrial age.
Professor Vladimir Đurđević from the Facultry of Physics in Belgrade has calculated that, if this trend continues, by the end of the century according to some scenarios, the temperature in Serbia could be higher by 4 degrees, while precipitation in the summer could fall by 50 percent.
In fact, experts think that climate change already has consequences on Serbia, its citizens and institutions. Two possibly most significant weather extremes were the drought in 2012 and the floods in 2014. These events have caused great damage to Serbia, and UNDP, along with other UN agencies, was actively engaged in the recovery of affected areas.
Climate changes call for prompt action on two parallel tracks: on the one hand, all governments in the world today, as this is a global problem, have to reach a binding agreement on the reduction on green house gas emissions. With this aim in mind, the global conference on climate Change will be held in Paris this year from the 30th Nov to the 11th Dec, where such an agreement is expected.
Serbia is coming to this conference with a series of achievements: the Law on the reduction of greenhouse gasses enters Parliamentary procedure next year, the reports to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are being finalised, together with numerous strategic and educational materials. In addition, Serbia was one the first countries in the world to announce its plan for the reduction of green house gas emissions, the so called ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ according to the UNFCCC.
On the other hand, we must adapt to new climate conditions and develop strategies for their mitigation. Even with a signed agreement in Paris, climate change challenges will remain a long term priority for every country and the world as a whole. For instance, already in the next 15 years it is forecast that corn yields in Serbia will decline by 58 percent, if adequate mitigation measures are not undertaken. This is why UNDP, as the development agency of the United Nations, is investing so much time in building partnerships at national and local level – so that the Serbian society and economy adapt in a timely manner to new climate conditions.
You can often hear that climate change is one of the most serious global challenges of our age. But numerous solutions have been proposed to tackle this challenge. If in the spirit of the UN Charter, we work together on this societal and economic problem, because climate change leaves consequences on everyday life, we will secure the future of the generations to come. As we approach the Conference on Climate Change in Paris, let that be our guiding thought.