Dangers of a warmer globe

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

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Dangers of a warmer globe

Dhiman Kakati | July 28, 2018 16:30 hrs


A few days ago, as I was surfing through random videos on YouTube, I came across a news channel broadcast whose caption piqued my curiosity in a flash! It read, “Climate Change - 60 Crore Indians At Risk.” And I was instantly drawn towards that 30-minute long video - all the more relevant since the newspapers, on the very same day, were filled with reports on how temperatures in Guwahati had soared to a shocking 38 degrees Celsius along with achieving the fatal distinction of being the highest recorded temperature in the last 30 odd years here. The heat and humidity are so full of strength these days that they can suck the life out of any average human being. And that is exactly what has happened. In a shocking tragedy, a few locals were reported to have lost their lives due to the scorching heat over the last week. Hence, it is high time that the issue of climate change is taken seriously.
Providing a brief overview of the situation is imperative. According to a recent report released by the World Bank (sometime in March 2018 titled “South Asia's Hotspots: The Impact of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards”), higher temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns will reduce living standards in communities across  the entire South Asian region - locations that the report terms as “hotspots.” More than 800 million people in South Asia currently live in communities that are projected to become “hotspots” under a carbon-intensive scenario (the term “carbon-intensive” refers to the carbon footprint in relation to its economic importance).

 

In the context of India, climate change could cost us 2.8 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and depress living standards of nearly half of our population by 2050, considering the latest findings which reveal that average annual temperatures are expected to rise by 1-2 percent over the next three decades. In addition, the report states that even if preventive measures are taken along the lines of those recommended by the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015, India's average annual temperatures are expected to rise by 1-2 degrees Celsius by the year 2050. 
It has undoubtedly turned out to be a very grim and alarming situation.
This is more so because an undesirable change in the climate not only affects the quality of life of the fast increasing urban cum rural populace but also leads to various ecological and commercial problems ranging from the negative impact on the hydrological cycle (reduced frequency of annual rainfall, for instance) to unwillingness of the 21st century professional to carry out his or her daily chores and assignments (which has a direct impact on the national economy).  In the televised broadcast I came across on YouTube, eminent panelists ranging from a former United Nations official to a Dean of a reputed institute of learning discussed and deliberated on the issue at hand, suggesting a number of practical cum achievable solutions in the process. Solutions ranging from strict adherence to international protocols and guidelines (for example, the much talked about Paris Climate Agreement and following a prescribed action plan to achieve the targets of the  SDG 13) to adopting technology and methods which suit the climatic conditions of our country (at a national level).

 

However, we, as members of the larger society, can also contribute to the ongoing fight against climate change as well. From using recyclable products (since most non-recyclable products are generally found to be subjected to incineration in the long run) to reducing carbon footprint by means of carpooling and encouraging the switch from paper bills to online invoices to something as simple as planting a tree, we can do it all and make a considerable difference in the process. On a personal note, at this point in time, all those lectures in school on planting trees which didn’t make sense then, have made more sense than I ever imagined possible.
Action needs to be taken and with genuine motive, since we have now realised what grave a threat this change has turned out to be.

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