THE INDIAN cyclone has caused complete devastation to one of the poorest areas of India. Ten million people's lives have been ruined and thousands are dead.
There is strong evidence that they are the latest victims of the way the greenhouse effect is changing the earth's climate. A United Nations environment report recently argued that 'losses from natural disasters over the decade 1986-95 were eight times higher than in the 1960s'. One of the reasons behind the increase in 'natural' disasters is the impact of the greenhouse effect, which is producing higher temperatures around the world.
Global warming is caused mainly by carbon dioxide emissions. Governments have wilfully ignored even the very limited targets to cut emissions which were made at the Kyoto climate change summit in 1997. A new study found that the richest nations' carbon dioxide emissions increased by 4 percent between 1990 and 1996. Then in 1996 emissions rocketed to a level greater than the first five years of the 1990s! Yet to meet the targets set at Kyoto the richest countries need to reduce emissions by between 20 and 40 percent over the next 12 years.