GLOBAL WARMING: a holocaust in the making

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climate-729172.jpgFor the still ignorant, this would be an obnoxious fact to come to terms with “hotter temperatures and frequent rises in sea level would continue to be a recurring phenomenon for several centuries despite all efforts to contain pollution on a world wide scale.” And the above statement is by no means “just a rant” by some brooding pessimists. Infact it has been led credence by a group of Int’l scientists from 113 countries associated with IPCC (Int’l panel on climate convention)
Well, global warming is slowly but surely raising more than a few important eyebrows. For the layman “global warming refers to the rise in global temperature resulting from an increased concentration of heat trapping gases in the Earth’s atmosphere like methane and carbon dioxide.
Rather alarmingly, since pre industrial times the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 31% and that of methane by a staggering 151%. This rather perplexing growth of methane can be accrued to an increase in agricultural activities like growing rice and raising cattle. As a result of this increase in the atmospheric concentration of these heat trapping gases, more heat is trapped amounting to climatic changes and other altered weather patterns.
The observed climatic changes include an increase in global average surface and ocean water temperature, a decrease in snow cover and sea ice extent, followed by retreat of mountain glaciers, a likely increase in average precipitation over middle and higher latitudes of northern hemisphere as also over tropical areas, an increase in the frequency of extreme precipitation events in parts of the world. Observed physical changes would be like thawing of permafrost, lengthening of the growing season in the higher and middle latitudes, pole ward and upward shift of plant and animal ranges, decline of some plant and animal species, earlier flowering of trees, earlier emergence of insects and earlier egg lying in birds.
Our excessive dependence on fossil fuels is one of the chief perpetrators of this crime. Therefore, every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal fired plants, heat our houses with oil or natural gas we release heat trapping gases into the atmosphere. Deforestation and other land use changes are also playing a significant role in revving up the concentration of these heat trapping gases in the atmosphere.
Sadly for us Earthlings, scientists predict with much conviction that even on implementing precautionary and remedial measures now, the climate won’t stabilize for many decade because the gases we have already released into the atmosphere will stay there for years or even centuries. But we can still slow down the rate of Global Warming by adopting a range of options for cutting down emissions of these greenhouse gases’ emissions, including-increasing efficiency standards-increasing use of renewable energy resources-eliminating use of subsidies that encourage the use of fossil fuels by making them artificially cheap-protecting and restoring forests-driving less and driving more fuel efficient vehiclesUsing energy efficient appliances-insulating homes-economizing use of electricity
The challenge faced by us is to strike a balance between responding early enough to avoid major negative (costly) impacts, and responding sometime later in order to avoid taking big expensive steps now. The guiding light for all of us should hover around the revolutionary statement by the erstwhile French President Jacques Chirac “faced with this emergency, the time is not for half measures.
The time is for a revolution….a revolution of our awareness, a revolution of the Economy, a revolution of political action.”

Abhinav Khanka

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