Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Climate change: World is on the edge; India is on a critical point

Homo sapiens have the innate tendency to control and to dominate. Paradoxically as Homo sapiens we have failed in one crucial aspect conspicuously visible in recent times is meddling and intervening by not respecting the laws of nature – Mother Earth. Though we are aware of the fact that natural laws functions on its fundamentals, but as Homo sapiens tended to break that law with our dominant view – ‘conquering nature at all cost’. With that determination we wanted to drastically transform our locales with concrete structures converting lakes, rivers and waterbodies for our living not showing any kindness to those that live on those habitats.
For our comfort and luxurious living, we keep adding vehicles, air conditioners, towers and what not forgetting that water will come back to its place where it originated. We are known for destroying the natural and non-human living, their space and their territories for our greed and insatiable wants. We care a damn for other species, flora and fauna. Having failed to respect other creatures in the name of ‘growth, development, progress and prosperity’, we went ahead translating our dominant ‘development paradigm’. How long and how far will the Homo sapiens go on plundering and devastating the Mother Earth.
Artic and Antarctic glaciers are melting and now gone down more than what is required to maintain the minimal balancing act. As a result, we have extreme climatic conditions. More rains and hot weather at odd seasons. More rainfall in few days creating record levels which used to take months. Hot climate in Europe and North America in odd seasons; forest fires, typhoons, gale winds and cyclones we have been witnessing in recent times. Hundreds of species have become extinct. Green covers are gradually disappearing such as Amazon. Climate change is now the global phenomenon and is affecting each and every country of the world. Change in climate manifests in very many ways questioning sustainability of our planet.
In the last few years every country and continents of the world be it developed or developing, poor or rich have by and large been badly affected by it. What would happen, if Europe and North America became hotter as France, Spain and Germany and some other countries including the United States and countries faced abnormal temperatures or South Asia or Africa or South America where climatic conditions reached unprecedent rains? Billions of dollars are spent for rebuilding the totally ravaged cities and towns and also providing relief and dolls to those affected by these calamities.
Calamities rarely happens by the nature, but the recent happenings should be construed as human-made disasters especially pollution and change in climatic conditions. Instead of taking the change in climate on war footing, the leaders of the world have taken these changes very lightly. Unless and until we take these changes in the climate is given utmost priority, the very existence of human race will be at stake. If we calculate developing countries alone which will need as much as $340 billion a year by 2030 for taking multiple adaptation measures to minimize the impact of climate change, but the financial flows from developed nations for these purposes stands as less than one-tenth of the amount said the UN Environment Program in its ‘Adaptation Gap’ report released recently. In addition, the UNEP said that “Estimated annual adaptation needs are $ 160-340 billion by 2030 and $315-565 billion by 2050.”
A note of caution prior ahead of the beginning of the UN climate conference (COP27) at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, the report noted the support it received is too little and too slow to meet the adaptation needs of the poor and vulnerable countries. Pointing to a huge gap in mobilizing financial support for adaptation, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said that report brought out clearly the “world is failing to protect people from the here-and-now impacts of the climate crisis” and “Those on the front lines of the climate crisis are at the back of the line for support.” It shows total apathy and insensitivity.
The ‘Adaptation Gap’ report finds that the combined adaptation and mitigation finance flows in 2020 fell at least $17 billion short of the $100 billion pledged by rich nations (historical polluters) to developing countries. “Significant acceleration is needed if a doubling of 2019 finance flows by 2025 is to be met, as urged by the Glasgow climate Pact,” it said. Over and above, the UNEP in its report released a few days ago said that an ‘Emission Gap Report’ found that the collective climate actions – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)- of countries under the Paris Agreement could lead to global warning of 2.4-2.6 degree Celsius by the end of the century against the target of keeping the warming within 1.5 degree Celsius.
The effects and impacts though relatively little more or little less within and between countries and continents, the overall results are the same. So, if we continue to tamper or play with laws of nature, the consequences will be severe. For instance, take the megacities and metropolises particularly the developed capitals like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and many others are facing problems of climate change especially when monsoon hits. All these cities have been facing erratic and unpredictable weather conditions and rising pollution in recent years. Reasons are clear as we are into converting the space that once belonged to waterbodies are now occupied by giant multistoried buildings and complexes.
Where would the water go. Delhi is facing worsening air quality day after day. In the wake of worsening air quality schools are shut or made alternate arrangement, vehicles should be reduced and concrete constructions should be stopped. Young children are facing bronchial problems and heart-related ailments. The average air quality index (AQ1) at 4pm was 447 against 450 a day earlier, making Delhi the second most polluted city in the country. Delhi continues to reel under the eye-stinging pollution with air quality recorded in the “severe” category. Delhi has over 33, 82 lakh private cars, of which about three lakhs are BS-IV diesel and over two lakh BS-111 petrol cars.
Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad have become the nightmare when rain lashes these megacities continuously for few hours, the face of these metropolises change and suddenly look like Venice – boats ferrying the stranded ones to safe destinations. There is none to fix the root of the problem. Each political party blaming the opposition or the previous political party that ruled. Blame game has become a common feature in the Indian politics. As Thedore Parker said: “Cities have always been the first places of civilization, where light and heat radiated out into the dark.” It is a paradox when cities have become concrete jungles with neon lights and buzzling activities 24/7.
Whether developed country or developing country, rich or poor spend huge amounts to defense and procuring latest weapons to defend their countries.
The most pressing problems the countries of world or comity of nations is the climate change. Effects and impacts of ‘Climate change’ can be felt, smelt and seen by all. It is now gaining momentum on regular basis quiet regularly as well as periodically. One of the major contributors is air pollution – a slow-killer. It is poisonous gradually creeps and shuts the lungs and thus paralyses irrespective of age Comity of nations should have the ‘political will’ which should resonate a common goal for the global humanity that ought to echo “we live together” failing which “together we perish”.
Dr. John Mohan Razu

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