Soaked reality

Aren’t you hot?

5

It is an everyday reality now. The weather is ever more unpredictable. Look at the rains in the monsoon are heavier, come in short bursts but inundate the whole neighbourhoods. In the hilly areas we already have witnessed large-scale destruction coupled with loss of lives.

The Paris Agreement set the goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. And that cannot be achieved without international cooperation in slashing carbon pollution, and curbing energy demand.  A draft UN report has projected that without such efforts, “holding warming to 1.5 C by the end of the 21st century will be extremely unlikely.

Up until a few years ago, the cataclysmic consequences of the climate change were unreal for the world, too bad to be true. But gradually the world has come to see the consequences for themselves. No part of the world is immune from this. Europe recently witnessed temperatures in touching mid forties, all of Europe, that is to say.

It is true that some parts of the world are more prone to facing the devastation from the changes in the climate. Maldives is one being an island nation. Pakistan too is among the top seven countries being in the way of world’s huge glaciers.  Irony of it all is that the countries that are to suffer the most are hardly among the nations that are causing the world temperature to go up. It is mostly the so called developed and civilized nations of that world that are responsible for it by being irresponsible while involved in the rat-race for development.

Though the Earth’s climate has been naturally and constantly changing over time, the rate at which the planet’s average temperature has risen since the Industrial Revolution is alarming and this human-induced warming has thrown the natural fluctuations in temperature worryingly off-balance. The key contributor to this disquieting rise in the Earth’s temperature is the unnatural levels of ‘greenhouse gases’ – gases that trap the sun’s energy in the atmosphere – being emitted into the air due to burning of fossil fuels.

This global warming has contributed to rising sea levels due to the rapid melting of mountain glaciers and retreat of polar ice sheets. The implications of this accelerated warming would be felt in the form of sweeping changes in food production processes (due to extinction of various plant and animal species) as well as human deaths on a mass scale due to floods, storms, heat waves and droughts.

The United States that was in the lead on controlling the temperatures and using its influence with world to agree on some common goals for the future unfortunately has thrown up its hands. The change in the Oval Office in 2016 has put the country on another path that is more inward looking. And the progress made so far is in jeopardy.