Climate change safeguards lacking

IT IS unfortunate that even after the warning sounded two decades ago by the Earth Summit I and Eco ’92, Kyoto ’97 and Copenhagen 2009 to fight global warming, as well as the noises made as the world prepares for Earth Summit II, there are many people still in denial in so far as climate change is concerned.
Climate change activists claim that lobby groups representing big greenhouse gas-emitting corpora-tions are peddling climate change denial lies to people around the world and delegates at climate and environment conferences every-where. It is believed these lobbies backed by big industries and fossil fuel companies are holding back agreements and progress at these conferences including the ongoing conference in Durban, South Africa. It has been observed that some peo-ple just will not change their attitude with regard to the environment and climate change no matter the arguments brought to bear on them.
In Malaysia, it is unfortunate that this stubborn attitude prevails not just in the bottom strata of society but goes right up to top civil servants and even top political leaders of the country. Because of this general attitude, villagers living by river banks, market workers and hawkers have no qualms about throwing their refuse and waste into waterways. But far more harmful to the environment and the climate is the attitude of some government officials who approve development projects which in the long run can cause all kinds of problems.
Development on hillsides and hill-tops can cause landslides which can result in buildings on them collapsing and threatening the lives of people living or working there. Erosion caused by the development can result in siltation of rivers which, with too much waste flowing in them, can become clogged up. It is a common phenomenon now that whenever there is heavy rainfall, rivers overflow their banks and flooding is the result. This accounts for the recent flooding in Kajang and its vicinity and other parts of the Klang Valley.
No doubt climate change is causing extra heavy rainfall, but the flash floods and general flooding cannot be blamed on it alone. Blame should be put squarely on the gov-ernment, especially local govern-ment officials, for allowing projects and doing little to ensure that rivers flow unimpeded by refuse and silt-ation. In fact, more should be done in this regard and in preparation for the extreme weather forecasted by the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development. Officials should no longer deny climate change but do more to prepare the country for its extreme effects.