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ABSTRACT

The global nature of climate has become very well appreciated in the developing as well as developed world. For example, in its recent Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in the United Kingdom, the leaders of the G8 nations very significantly remarked that climate changed is happening now, that human activity is contributing to it, and that it could affect every part of the globe. In its resolutions, the G8 leaders noted thus “The Gleneagles plan of Action which we have agreed demonstrates our commitment. We will take measure to develop markets for clean energy technologies, to increase their availability in development countries, and to help vulnerable communities adapt to the impact of climate change.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study Climate is the regular pattern of weather conditions of a particular place that is either mild, temperate, warm or wet. Is a general attitude or feeling an atmosphere or a situation which exists in a particular place.1 Climate includes patterns of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and seasons. “Climate change” affects more than just a change in the weather; it refers to seasonal changes over a long period of time. These climate patterns play a fundamental role in shaping natural ecosystems, and the human economies and cultures that depend on them. Climate can also be defined in a narrow as well as a wider sense. Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands of years. The classical period is three decades, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.2 Climate Change on the other hand, refers to a statistical significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period typically for decade or longer. Climate Change may be due to natural processes or extended forcing, or to persistence anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in its Article 1, defines climate change as: a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time period (UNFCCC 1993).3 The UNFCCC makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes. The human-induced changes in the global environment due to increase in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are qualitatively different from those seen before, when climate varied naturally and slowly on many time scales Climate Change in intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.4 The Earth‟s climate is affected by the interaction of radiation from the sun and the Earth‟s atmosphere .The atmosphere and the surface of the earth absorb part of the sun‟s radiation but the remainder is reflected back into space. The greenhouse gases have the important function of trapping this radiation in the lower layers of the earth‟s atmosphere. This process is called “greenhouse effect” without which the earth would be as cold as the moon. It is now understood that increase concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will increase the greenhouse effect and lead to changes in the earth‟s climate.5

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