August 19, 2016

Let’s Create a Green Future

According to the experts, the present El Nino phase that set-in at the beginning of this year would cause increased bad weather conditions than the previous ones. It is predicted to extend through 2016. The storms would be more frequent and more stronger, rainfalls would increase significantly, causing extensive flooding. The droughts would be more widespread during the La Nina phase and these conditions would remain for longer periods than before. Experts predict that the 2015 El Nino would be among the strongest in the historical records since 1950, the year when the El Nino was officially recognized.
The El Nino weather conditions are caused by the rise in the sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, which develops a band of warm water that causes low pressure area in that region and a high pressure area in the Western Pacific. Then when the Western Pacific Ocean surface becomes warm a reverse condition emerges. The El Nino condition is the warm phase and the reverse, which is the La Nina is the cool phase. The two conditions are occuring at irregular intervals of two to seven years. The El Nino can last from nine months to two years. The people of the EGreen Future 72ast Pacific named that weather phenomenon “The El Nino” in Spanish, meaning “The Young Boy”, which referred to the Christ child as it occurs around the Christmas time. The opposite of that, which occured in the post El Nino period, when th sea surface temperature in the Eastern Pacific cools down, is called “La Nina”, meaning “The Young Girl”.
Due to the global warming and the climate changes that had plagued the world, the El Ninos and the La Ninas are becoming more extreme and they are causing havocs, that are getting worse year after year. Developing countries on the Pacific rim that have to depend on agriculture and fishing are the hardest hit. Even our country have been reeling under their effects. This year would be the worst if the predictions of the experts proved to be right.
Their consequences would not only be the severe storms, flooding, loss of properties and lives, excessive rains and snowfalls, extreme temperatures and droughts, but they would also have adverse impacts on economics, social and health. Due to the destructions of the crops and reduction in fish productions by the extreme climate conditions, prices of commodities, especially agricultural and marine products, will rise and their effects on the macro-economy would affect the majority of the people, especially in the Pacific rim countries. The rise in commodity prices could lead to social unrests. The mass migrations that are going on all over the world are the consequences of the climate change. The mosquito transmitted epidemic diseases, such as: malaria and dengue fevers are also correlated to the El Nino conditions. Thus it is of urgent necessity to put a hold on the climate change. According to some experts it would be necessary to maintain the temperature at no more than 2°C. However, some are saying, it wouldn’t be enough and should be maintained at a lesser level. In my opinion that would be quite difficult, given the fact that the chances of avoiding a 3°C rise are very slim with the present prevailing situations. If that should happen the climate conditions would spiral out of control.
As one degree rise in temperature could cause much difference to the weather patterns, so does a degree less would contribute greatly in controlling the climate change. The ice glaciers everywhere are melting continuously at alarming rates and causing the sea levels to rise. Thus if we cannot put a stop to the rising temperatures in time, the world is headed for doom. To stop the rise in temperatures and thence to bring it down to a safe level, strict controls of the greenhouse gas emissions should be enforced. I wonder if that safe level could be set during the present deliberations at the Paris Climate Change Conference, if the biggest carbon emitters wouldn’t budge. Even if that could be achieved, it would be too late for some, where the climate change casatrophic had already struck.
Let’s not expect too much from the wrangling they are doing in Paris, which I doubt could produce any viable solution and do what is necessary ourselves. We should be walking the walk, while they are talking the talk. Actions, not words only can get things done. I’m not being pessimistic but pragmatic. All these undesirable weather conditions are the results of the global warming that is caused by the indiscriminate excessive emissions of the greenhouse gases, especially the CO2. The increase in Carbon emissions is the result of the industrializations, deforestations, excessive use of the fossilized fuels. If we could substitute the use of these fossilized fuels with renewable or green energy, we would be able to ward off the adverse effects of the El Nino  and the La Nina weather conditions to a certain extent.
So, what is green energy?  It is the energy derived from nature. Mother nature has provided us with many useful things and the most precious are the sunlight, water and air or wind. If we could harness these three sources, we could make our country green. Thus it is quite clear that, being green doesn’t necessarily mean only growing more trees, though, they played important roles in keeping our planet green.
In some of our neighbouring countries, the villagers are taught how to harness the hydro power to produce electricity. Even the women are involved in establishing hydro- electricity plants to provide the necessary electricity for their villages. Some villages are even able to earn extra money by selling the excess electricity to the national grid. If there are streams, creeks or rivers in the vicinity of the villages, it is not difficult to harness them to produce hydroelectricity. The only thing necessary is to train the people how to do it and also make the necessary materials and equipments readily available at reasonably low prices, or subsidized by the government or donors. It is known that there are a few small scale hydro power plants in the Kachin, Chin and Shan States. However, more would be needed. The communities should consider setting up organizations, such as the co-operatives to implement these hydro power plants in their areas.
Another natural source that could be exploited is the sun’s energy. Being in the tropics we are blessed with plenty of sun light almost all year round, which is waiting to be utilized. In Thailand, I had noticed that the solar power is utilized widely. Solar panels are quite visible in most remote villages and even in some rural towns and villages where the power grids are present. If the solar power equipments and accessories, such as the solar panels and the battery banks for power storage could be made readily and cheaply available, many people, including me, would happily resort to the use of the solar power as much as possible.
The last resort would be to utilize the wind power. However, as the initial costs of installations and the maintenance costs are quite exorbitant, the general populace wouldn’t be able to implement them. So, it is the state’s responsibility to install those infrastructures. In other countries, I had noticed that wind turbines are built, out at sea. The reason must be because those places are very windy and devoid of obstructions, are suitable for the wind turbines. We also have many suitable places along our coastlines that can be utilized for constructing the wind turbines. In my opinion the shallow water area at the head of the Gulf of Motama (Martaban) would be the most suitable place. It is close to Yangon and is way off the shipping lanes, so there is almost no traffic except for small fishing boats and country crafts.
The Thai professor, mentioned in my previous article “Harnessing the Climate Change”, is doing extensive researches to make their rural areas green and I had requested him, through my son, to share with me some of his methods when he had completed his studies. My view is, if his methods work for Thailand, they would be applicable to our country too.
In conclusion I would like to urge my fellow countrymen to be aware of the consequences of the climate changes and the causes of these dreaded climate changes and participate in reducing them. Let us start walking, instead of talking and create a green future for our later generations.


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