The effects of climate changes is visible and it is still increasing at an alarming rate and more people are in a great danger due to this, we have seen the increase in frequency of extreme weather events such as tornados, hurricanes, cyclones and others in major parts of the world, and all of these are mainly caused by changes in climatic conditions. Climate change is mainly caused by the increase of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere such as Oxides of Sulphur (SOx), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and others. The major threatening greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), this is because it is released in gigantic amount to the atmosphere in a short period of time. The increase in concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere causes the thickness of greenhouse gasses to increase and as the result of this the terrestrial radiation fail to escape to the upper spaces, this causes the increase in concentration of solar radiations which tend to cause the increase in the global temperature (global warming). The global average temperature has increased to 0.74oC due to the increase of greenhouse gasses (from 280ppm to 400ppm). If serious actions won’t be taken to halt this increase in greenhouse gasses, in few years to come the world will be the most dangerous planet to live in.
Several conventions and conferences have been conducted world wide to discuss and to combat the effects caused by climate changes, various protocols also have been established so as to mitigate this. Different measures have been suggested and established in order to reduce the increase of greenhouse gasses, some of those measures are; Joint Implementation (JI), Emission Trading (ET) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Other measures are; the one that reduce the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere by restricting deforestation and forest degradation (Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-REDD) and Voluntary Carbon Markets.
Deforestation in developing countries accounts for around 15-20% of emission of greenhouse gases caused directly by human activities. Also forests consume 15-25% of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, so by protecting the forests this shows that the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere will be reduced and climatic changes will also be minimized. In order to keep the global temperature rise as far below 2oC as possible, it will be essential that efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries are part of the post 2012 climate change agreement.
Communities can be very important in taking some responsible measures in combating the effects of climate changes, by recognizing their contribution into this, education concerning climate changes and its associated effects should be provided to the society, also forest dependant communities (FDCs) should be educated about the emerging REDD Project, so that they will understand it and the benefits that they can gain from the project. For this to be sustainable and equitable, tangible benefits need to accrue directly to the communities that are involved in the management of the forests and in the REDD project. The rights of communities to participate in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of REDD should also be written into an international agreement. REDD offers the communities to be recompensed for that service. Also participatory forest management (PFM) should be enhanced and implemented as the forest management tool to those societies surrounding the forest reserves, because most forests under PFM are better managed with lower rates of deforestation and degradation.
By helping to protect our planet’s climate by reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses from deforestation and forest degradation, communities are providing a valuable services to the global community.
By Jacqueline Tesha