The recent (November, 2014) climate change goals announced by two major global economies (US and China) for reducing 28% emissions by 2025 and 2030 by US and China respectively appear on the surface to be exciting news. However, the real consequences down the decades are doubtful. How far this will really make any significant difference to global climate justice is absolutely doubtful. None of the top industrialized nations are ready to cut down the rate of their industrial growth or switch to alternative available technologies from the fear of losing the quality of their life and slowing down their economies. The power house of global politics across the planet has been dominated by the vested interests of different industrial lobbies. An eyewash treaty may look excellent on the media platform but if there is no political will to implement them in any form other than making political and strategic gains, they will turn out into another joke like the “Kyoto Protocol” and fail to achieve anything significant with respect to abetment of global warming and climate change. Since “seeing is believing”; the world will watch with interest if any such real change is actually observed following the flamboyant announcements or whether it is yet another political joke that we are all used to.
The impending dangers of global warming are indeed a matter of great concern for all, from the tropics to the temperate in both the eastern and western hemispheres; from the unpredictable weather patterns in the tropics to the harsh Eurasian winters or melting of ice in the polar region are threatening our globe with serious consequences. If one reviews an example from the context of the Indian subcontinent, the impending danger of climate change is alarmingly exposed. The increasing sea water level in the Indian Ocean basin has been threatening several small island nations and island groups like Maldives and parts of coastal Sri Lanka, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Lakshadweep group of islands are extremely vulnerable. We have to initiate the process of engineering an advanced, detailed plan to prepare for any possible disaster mitigation in the future. Several small low lying island nations across the planet await similar prospect. Furthermore, if this be the situation for human aspect of the story, one could clearly imagine what fate waits for the helpless wildlife of these unfortunate countries that are severely impacted by climate change.
It is important to note from a historical perspective that the Western nations have been industrialized far back compared to the numerous under-developed and developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, that earned their independence and transformed into modern democracies only in the post World War II period. These countries are unfortunately still struggling to find a stronger economic foundation plagued by several problems after centuries of ruthless exploitation by the colonizers from the West. Under such appalling conditions and disproportionate global economic growth, can we ever think about anything close to climate justice? Several of these countries are in need of rapid industrialization utilizing their regional and local natural resources for stabilizing their highly jeopardized economy and have no available technology to reduce green house gas emissions. Hence, an immediate effective and efficient resolution with respect to climate change mitigation from the perspective of developing and under developed nations is a distant and unsettled dream.
One of the criticism as projected by the developing and under-developed countries against the developed and industrialized world is that lack of consideration for real life situations in the developing countries. According to this, the rosy ideas regarding climate change regulations that hovers in the mind of Western philosophers, environmentalists, activists, diplomats and politicians who had never seen anything whatsoever close to true economic hardships, abject poverty, civil wars, deaths and destruction are making important decisions for the whole planet and taking credit for this. As long as there will be this economic disparity between the developed and developing nations of the world; all fascinating ideas regarding climate change mitigation and climate justice will be a failure. The developing countries insist that they are in need of rapid industrialization utilizing their natural resources for establishing a better regional economy for their long term sustenance. The climate mitigation regulations will therefore jeopardize their economic progress and that thy lack the alternative green technologies and funds necessary for switching towards climate friendly technology and policy currently.
The developed nations who have been industrialized heavily and responsible for the major and historic share of the climate change issues do not agree to this and indicated that no such compensation funding could be provided by them based on the current global economic situations. Hence due to lack of coordination and cooperation between the developing and developed nations no concrete roadmap for climate mitigation could be actually drawn. The recent 12-day meeting at Peru (Peru Summit, 2014) by 190 nations to agree on a draft proposal for constituting a historic agreement on climate change to be signed at Paris in December 2015 and for enactment by 2020 did not reach its’ targeted objective. The developed nations informed that there will be no funds available to support the programs for climate mitigation in developing and under developed nations currently; and the developing nations blocked the motion for climate mitigation as their economies are not ready or prepared yet to handle the burden of climate change mitigation immediately. As a consequence, a dead block has been reached with no viable alternative tabled to resolve the situation with a long term sustainable and comprehensive solution, agreeable to both stakeholders.
How does it impact the global wildlife, particularly the global avifauna? The impact is unfortunately quite drastic and detrimental to the global avian life and population. Change of temperature has been found to be negatively correlated to the foraging, nesting and breeding behaviors of several species distributed across the planet both in the tropical, temperate regions. What is more disturbing is the fact that a vast majority of avian species have their habitats in the biodiversity hotspots located in the developing and under-developed countries. Unless serious, comprehensive, global effort is initiated with respect to climate mitigation a substantial number of species across the planet are in the danger of losing their habitats and hence are seriously endangered due to global climate change. Another important factor is the shortage of availability of traditional prey species for several avian members in various parts of the globe.
Climate change has seriously impacted both aquatic (freshwater, estuarine and marine) and terrestrial biomes across the planet thereby negatively impacting the food bases of several avifauna members. The life cycles of fishes and numerous smaller aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate species and their reproduction has been showing signs of transformations with respect to their population dynamics over the decades; reducing the number of several prey species, while increasing the preponderance of different pest species. The steady availability of prey species and food sources are directly related to the population dynamics of the avian species; and hence any shift in that will be reflected in the avifauna population across the planet. Furthermore, the loss of habitats are also negatively impacting the traditional foraging and breeding sites further impacting the avifauna population. In addition, some trends in the shifting of migration patters have also been noticed in some species impacting the distribution as well as the structure of the population of vulnerable species.
Climate change has been impacting regional economies; in particular developing and under developed nations are worst hit in the process. As a consequence, the anthropogenic pressures on the prime wildlife habitats and biodiversity hotspots are ever increasing with need for industrialization, agricultural expansions, extension of rural and urban areas promoting encroachment, poaching, illegal capture and underground pet trade for endangered avifauna. The roadblock in the negotiation for climate mitigation between developing and developed countries is thus having a serious effect on the life of different global avian species. Unless we get together on a common platform and agree to establish a framework for global climate mitigation pretty soon, it may be too late in terms of saving the critically endangered avian members of the planet.
Article submitted by: Saikat Kumar Basu
Protecting close to 12,000 acres of wildlife habitat, the Costa Rican Bird Route includes eighteen spectacular bird watching spots. Eight of these are private reserves established by local landowners and incorporated into the Costa Rican Private Reserve Network, while the other ten sites include Costa Rica’s established biological reserves – all of which offer rich and varied bird watching opportunities. The region incorporates the last remaining habitat of the second largest parrot in the world – the endangered Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) – and every year since 2002, Costa Rica and neighboring Nicaragua have joined forces to host the Bi-National Macaw Festival aimed at raising awareness of the plight of these beautiful birds.
Although the main goal of the Bi-National Macaw Festival is to promote the conservation of the habitat of the Great Green Macaw, and therefore ensure its continued existence, the gathering also gives the neighboring countries the opportunity to learn about each other as they pursue their common goal. The festival includes a host of cultural, recreational and educational activities, with art and photo contests, dancing, music, storytelling and handicrafts all focusing on the Great Green Macaw. Landowners who protect macaw nests on their property are rewarded with monetary prizes and certificates in recognition of their efforts, which have resulted in a marked reduction in pillaging of nests for macaw chick for illegal trade.
Thanks to the efforts of conservationists and local communities, birders stand a good chance of spotting a Great Green Macaw when exploring the Costa Rican Bird Route. But if the endangered South American parrot is elusive, the fact that up to 520 bird species have been counted in the route means that birding enthusiasts will have plenty to see.
Birders are asked to take note of their sightings and report them to the Rainforest Biodiversity Group via eBird.org for inclusion on the electronic database. This helps landowners along the route to keep track of wildlife on their properties, while at the same time helping the foundation to track bird distribution in the Western Hemisphere. eBird.org also offers birders the facility to explore their database, which can prove really handy when planning a trip to expand your list of birds sighted. Advanced technology now offers birders the opportunity to be a citizen scientist, no matter where in the world you are pursuing your favorite pastime.