Launch of Climate Change Secretariat and Sri Lanka Carbon Fund

By Shabna Cader
Global warming is a threat to all of us. In brief, global warming is an increase in the average temperature of the earth. Although, we have been told over and over again that, it is one of the biggest threats faced by man, many of us have little understanding about the situation or how to contribute to make it better.

The launch of the Climate Change Secretariat and Sri Lanka Carbon Fund would be ways of dealing with the arising problem. The launch was held on April 28, at the Ceylon Continental Hotel, Colombo with Senior Advisor on Climate Change, Professor Mohan Munasinghe, Director of Climate Change and Global Affairs Division, Anura Jayatilake, Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Carbon Fund Limited, Dr. B. M. S. Batagoda, Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Carbon Fund Limited, L. Parakrama, Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka and Patali Champaka Ranawake, Minister of Environment.

Doing it for our children

The officials were quick to point out that, it was our duty, to take action against global warming. “We have to work with not just ourselves, but with our children, as well. It is they, who are going to feel the brunt of our actions. The problems are very serious and we know, what to do. We need to reorganise and take control,” said Prof. Munasinghe.

Another major issue is that, poor countries of the world, are affected mostly by global warming. But the irony is that, most of the time, they are the ones, who contribute less, to global warming, since they emit relatively less toxic gases, to the environment, compared to industrialised nations.

“The poor countries and most vulnerable citizens, will suffer the most, even though, they have contributed less to global warming. The climate change is not a future scenario. The world does not lack financial resources, or the technological capabilities, to act. What is missing is a sense of urgency, human solidarity and collective interest,” Prof. Munasinghe said.

Causes and effects
Although, natural phenomenon contributes to global warming, it is the acts of humans, which contribute mostly, to global warming.
“Climate change can be caused by human influence, as well as, natural phenomenon,” Senior Advisor on Climate Change said. “However the ‘Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’ leaves us with no doubt that, human activity is the primary driver of the observed changes, in climate. These changes can be caused by the release of greenhouse gases, aerosols and cloudiness. The largest known contribution comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Abundance of these particles can lead to a warming or cooling, of the climate system.”

Effects of climate change

  • An increase in the surface temperature.
  • A rise in the sea level.
  • Decrease in snow and ice.
  • Changes in precipitation.
  • Inequity and poverty.
  • Conflicts over anything else, that is vital.

Climate change and development
Prof. Munasinghe was also quick to point out the development implications, of global warming. Climate change affects natural resources, that are vital in development.

“Climate change affects the natural resource base, and therefore development. In turn, during the development process, carbon emissions are released, and therefore, cause a change in the climate. We are not only talking about solutions from the Government, but also other businesses. They are the movers and the shakers, and both have to work together, to do something without blaming,” said Prof. Munasinghe.

Dealing with the problem

So, what can we do, to solve this problem? Where does Sri Lanka stand and its point of view? The government of Sri Lanka, in support of the attempts made by the global community, towards addressing the challenges of climate change, has ratified the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change. Although Sri Lanka, is a low greenhouse gas emitting country, with no commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, acceded in 2002.

In order to comply with the requirements of the UNFCCC, Sri Lanka has prepared its first Green House Gas (GHG) Inventory in 1994. As a developing country, Sri Lanka is faced with several challenges, in responding to Climate Change. The main challenge is the poverty of vulnerable communities.

Lack of awareness among policy makers and decision makers, lack of coherent effort, to integrate climate change dimensions, into the main development framework of the country, inadequate financial resources etc, appear to be key constraints, in responding to climate change.

Sri Lanka’s approach to solve these issues, has been in many ways. The founding of the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund on April 9, aims at reducing the carbon emission of our country, to an estimated amount of 6,232,468 tons of carbon per year. Out of the total 15 million tons of carbon, marketed in the international market, so far Sri Lanka has sold only 174,000 tons of carbon. This is mainly due to the fact that, Sri Lankan carbon emission reduction projects are so small, and hence less competitive, in the international market, and there is no mechanism, to bundle small projects in to economically viable projects.

Objectives of the SLCF
To provide technical and financial assistance to the CDM Project developers for the preparation of project documentation.
To facilitate CDM sales agreement negotiations.

  • To facilitate CDM bundling of small CDM projects
  • To facilitate access to capital funding for CDM projects, through commercial banks.
  • To provide investment capital for CDM projects.
  • To engage in carbon trading, through purchasing and subsequent sale for carbon credit.
  • The Climate Change Secretariat has been established, at the Minitry of Environment and Natural Resources for the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol.

Objectives of CCS
Provide a platform to address climate change issues at the national level.
Serve as the dedicated institutional mechanism on climate change responses.
Function as the repository databank of Climate Change information.
Facilitate climate change related search and distribution of research results, to trigger policy reforms and actions.
Establish a mechanism, to monitor impacts of responses to Climate Change.
Liaise with the Secretariat to the UNFCCC and discharge Sri Lanka’s Serve as Secretariat for Designated National Authority for CDM projects.

Provide a one step facility, to disseminate information, relating to the implementation of the decisions taken at the UNFCCC/COP meetings and Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

We should be aware of, what our world is coming to. We can no longer be just safe, but we need to understand the problems at hand, come together and work as a team, in order to make it through bad times. As Prof. Munasinghe mentioned, “We know, what we need to do,” so, let us do just that.