George Gelber, the head of public policy for the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, said the leaders of the industrialized world must work to keep the global climate from increasing two degrees Celsius. He said that amount of increase would do more damage to the environment, including “the melting of ice caps, and the release of even more greenhouse gases from frozen wastes of the north, which would really make the world an unpleasant place to live in.”
Gelber said many of the countries suffering from climate change today have not contributed to its cause: “They don’t have heavy industries emitting carbon dioxide, or a car for every family using gasoline. There are reports of African countries like Kenya experiencing drought which is contributing to the conflict in Darfur, and violent weather events like flooding in Mozambique, and predictions all this will get worse.”
Weather fluctuations are also leading to food shortages. “In countries like Tanzania, Malawi and others,” Gelber said, “up to 70 percent of the population live in rural areas and depend on rain-fed agriculture and the seasons to live. If those seasons are disrupted and the rain does not come they are in deep trouble.”
Gelber said industrialized countries must make tough decisions on how to reduce emissions that could cause the temperature to increase.
(Note: This report was originally broadcast at 1800 UTC on Thursday, June 7, 2007.)