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An Open Letter to UN Sec-Gen. Ban Ki Moon
A citizen reporter writes to a preeminent global citizen about climate change
Michael Werbowski (minou)     Print Article 
Published 2008-12-09 13:09 (KST)   
Comments are welcome at the bottom of this article.  <Editor's Note>
Dear Mr Secretary-General,

Recently you attended the United Nations climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, a country which I know very well both personally and professionally. A country which regrettably -- like many other post-communist states in EU member central Europe -- is reluctant to see multilaterally imposed restriction on carbon monoxide emissions.

Henceforth, I am writing to you on this issue of global warming or climate change. As an environmental reporter, I covered the negative effects of large dams in tropical zones specifically speaking, in Central America (Chalillo Dam in Belize, financed and owned by the Canadian energy company Fortis) on the world's weather.

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Large scale deforestation, dam building, increasing carbon emissions, unbridled agricultural land use, as we know, all contribute to the warming of our planet, so scientists say. Politicians relatively speaking, to the urgency of the issue, have paid negligible or little heed to their warnings so far to my dismay.

Thousands of communities throughout the world, as you have probably witnessed firsthand, have been affected already by the adverse effects of rising temperatures. More will be impacted and impaired in the future if nothing tangible is done very soon.

Furthermore, in hindsight, after years of environmental reporting it seems to me that certain corporate interest specially in the oil, dam construction (so-called clean renewable energy) and the mining industry, with powerful legal lobbies on their side, have systematically resisted any concerted global efforts of any kind, to stop the temperatures from rising on earth.

In view of their profits, this is most regrettable. So I appeal to you, to create within the vast plethora of UN structures a body, a permanent center, or an institute to study the effect of global climate change.

My proposal deals with the idea of an International Climate Change Center (ICCC) or a place of sorts for starters, under the UN auspices, which would permit a broad range of academics such as: meteorologists, climatologists, biologists, zoologists, anthropologists, and yes even economists and some so called "captains of industry" to meet on a permanent and regular basis to study the phenomenon of climate change.

The location for such a center would be perhaps, best be suited in Switzerland. A land locked nation whose glaciers are melting rapidly, or as fast as I can write these words to you. A small but very influential state concerned by the effects of the world's warmer weather.

This "neutral" nation already has several UN organizations based on its territory and is due to its great wealth, least liable to be influenced by corporate and industry and political pressure from abroad.

Funding for the proposed center should come from UN member states and allocations should be made proportional to the member state's emissions capacity; big polluters pay more (the US, China, Russia, etc.) for the study of climate change and little ones much less.

Moreover, my colleagues and I, at OhmyNews International from Brazil to South Africa and worldwide have reported on the devastating effects of increasing temperatures which threaten not only civilization but perhaps the entire planet as well. From waterways and coastlines, to lakes infested with green poisonous algae, to the Arctic and Antarctic poles, reptiles and avian species - all are threatened by climate change.

The spread of tropical diseases throughout the Third World and perhaps beyond to the richer northern hemisphere is also affected by warmer weather. Not to mention devastating flash floods, almost H-bomb-like hurricanes and wild fires.

The costs of climate change are staggering. The eminent economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, has estimated that the climate change price tag may amount to $4 trillion by end of this century. Surely, a small proportion of the UN member states budgets ($1 trillion has already gone to the global banking system in government bailouts) can be allocated to study with the consequences and the real costs of climate change.

Thus, this center would attempt to find ways to stop and reverse if possible, this natural or some argue man made phenomenon called global warming. Its goal would be to issue recommendations and guidelines to the UN on how to proceed to halt rising global temperatures.

Of course, many such efforts would be futile without the concerted cooperation of each individual member state. They must implement the body's policy advice in a credible and verifiable manner.

Above all, if we can arrest or reverse this trend of hotter weather, countless of flora and fauna can be saved for future generations. This is vital for scientific and medical research. The benefits for mankind are incalculably precious. Their survival is also a matter of our survival.

Although we may be at the top of the food chain, we all depend on the lower echelon for our very own self preservation.

Finally, it is my heartfelt wish that you may read this letter and eventfully despite your immensely burdensome schedule and its constraints take this proposal into consideration. And optimally perhaps delegate directives to your appropriate staff within the UN to take steps and set up a permanent office to study global climate change in the nearest future possible.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Michael Werbowski

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