Published on SundayTimes on 10.01.2016 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/160110/news/ms-blows-hot-against-global-warming-with-sri-lanka-next-178263.html
President Maithripala Sirisena launched an ambitious campaign to fight global warming, following last month’s global agreement reached to reduce emissions.
Named ‘Sri Lanka Next: Blue-Green Era’, the ceremonial launch took place at the BMICH on January 6 with schoolchildren and invitees in attendance. At the event, President Sirisena and those present read out a pledge to do whatever is necessary in the fight against global warming, and maintain the temperature increase under 2 degrees centigrade.
The pledge further says Sri Lanka will also endeavour to keep it under 1.5 degrees centigrade. The ‘Sri Lanka Next’ campaign will propel the nation into the next level of sustainable low emission development paradigm, where opportunities arising from the emerging new green and blue economy would be tapped.
Scientists predict human induced global warming triggered by excess greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide will make the world hotter by several degrees if nothing is done.
The temperature rise is already being experienced through many extreme weather events triggered by it. Hence, the Paris climate talks ended with both industrialised and developing countries agreeing to cut emissions.
Sri Lanka’s greenhouse gas emissions are considered negligible, compared with industrialised countries, yet, ‘Sri Lanka Next’ promises a low carbon path for Sri Lanka to ease global warming.
Hence, our main focus would be towards adaptation, to confront the bad impacts of climate change.
The key focus of this national initiative is to ensure that Sri Lanka as a nation shift towards clean renewable energy and divests itself of fossil fuel consumption in the industrial and transport sectors.
The President recently re-introduced tax exemptions for electric cars, in trying to gain this goal.
But Sri Lanka is to set up another coal power plant in Trincomalee under Indian pressure, which will hurt this ambitious campaign warn energy experts.
A series of weeklong events, post launch of ‘Sri Lanka Next’, have been organised for Environment week which falls in the first week of June.
It will consist of a conference, exhibition and symposium on the Blue-Green Economy, followed by a film festival and a student-led event.
President Sirisena, who is also the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, vowed to personally steer the campaign in conjunction with the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), the Forest Department’s REDD+ initiative, together with Department of Wildlife Conservation, the National Climate Secretariat (NCS) and all other relevant Government institutions, the Private Sector and international agencies.
However, the most important aspect is not just promises but the need to implement them, remind environmentalists.
The ‘Sri Lanka Next’ campaign website can be accessed on http://srilankanext.lk/