Let this be the last call to save planet Earth
Stephen Ndegwa
Icebergs which calved from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier float in Disko Bay in Ilulissat, Greenland, September 3, 2021. /CFP

Icebergs which calved from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier float in Disko Bay in Ilulissat, Greenland, September 3, 2021. /CFP

Editor's note: Stephen Ndegwa is a Nairobi-based communication expert, lecturer-scholar at the United States International University-Africa, author and international affairs columnist. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

As the world tries all means possible to get out of the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, another deadlier scourge is threatening humanity's existence. Apparently, we are trapped. But it is not the first time that the scientific world and other authorities have sounded the alarm bells on climate change and total environmental destruction.

This weekend is significant for the world, with three critical events running concurrently. First, the climate-focused meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) most powerful countries took place in Italy over the two-day weekend. Then the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, begins in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday, which is also UN World Cities Day. Celebrated on October 31, this year's UN World Cities Day is themed "Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience." Taken collectively, the alarm bells surrounding climate could not have sounded any louder.

Well, this is enough testimony that the time for taking action against global warming is right now. Not to downplay the impact of the pandemic, but it seems COVID-19 is taking a backseat with the realization that climate change poses a greater and more urgent risk than the pandemic. The reason for this attitude is in the vagaries that people are experiencing all over the world within the peculiarities of their regional environment.

For instance, flooding has become a regular occurrence in the Northern Hemisphere and Asia, leading to the death of hundreds of people. Summer 2021 in Europe was also the hottest ever, which is worrying when one takes into account that 2020 was also the hottest on record in all of Europe, with temperatures hitting a scary 40 degrees Celsius. It resulted in wildfires in some countries in Europe, an unusual phenomenon.

Africa and the developing world, in general, suffer from double jeopardy. Not only are occasional droughts becoming frequent and longer as a direct consequence of climate change, but the countries are also absorbing a lot of secondhand emissions from the developed world's industrial complex. The effects of weak climate governance structures in the face of a scourge of such magnitude might be irreparable.

A Carabinieri police officer stands guard outside the convention center "La Nuvola" in Rome's EUR district ahead of the G20 World Leaders Summit, October 28, 2021. /CFP

A Carabinieri police officer stands guard outside the convention center "La Nuvola" in Rome's EUR district ahead of the G20 World Leaders Summit, October 28, 2021. /CFP

Climatologists have noted that the world has failed to meet the promises of the Paris Climate Agreement, particularly the commitment to curb the rise of global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. The emerging scenario is really an emergency, which is why COP26 has been dubbed "the world's best last chance to get runaway climate change under control."

With climate change, it does not really matter how wealthy or technologically advanced a country is. Once the ozone layer is thinned beyond the life-sustaining threshold, human life will become unsustainable due to the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation.   

To a large extent, COVID-19 is gradually being subdued, thanks to the efforts of the global community, for we either hang on together or fall separately. Likewise, the fight against climate change will be fought and won in unison. Insisting on following unilateral policies at a time like this is foolhardy and an injustice to those who are basically innocent in either the origin or exacerbation of the problems facing Mother Earth.

But even with the preceding doomsday scenarios above, we cannot dare give up the fight. Members of the G20 and participants of COP26 must resound the perennial warnings about the possibility of human extinction on Earth if the environment snaps due to the relentless pressure of human activities. People must decide what kind of adjustments they need to make their habitat more environmentally friendly.

China's policies and actions in response to climate change, as published in its recent white paper, encompass great ideas on what actually needs to be done by all players. Apart from its national measures that have proved effective, the country has strived to mobilize global action through international climate and environment forums.

The country has become a champion of environmentalism by incessantly calling for collective action against climate change. China has been an active and constructive participant in international climate talks, particularly coming to the aid of developing countries to help them establish mitigation and adaptation measures against the growing scourge.

As the white paper states, every person on Earth falls under the purview of climate change, which means that people at all levels need to be involved in seeking solutions to help humankind live in harmony rather than in competition with nature. Even if our generation does not suffer the brunt of climate change, we owe it to progeny to bequeath them a world with no looming climate catastrophe because of our intransigence.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at

Search Trends