With great power comes great responsibility, we were told by Spiderman and how I wish that Science were a human being and could understand. As Science continues taking giant strides in making significant and dare I say life saving contributions in our lives especially in the field of medicine it is important to look also at the flipside. The costs arising because of the developments that have taken place due to science and technology are and will be borne by the world community but none of them greater than Global Warming.
Global Warming or an increase in the average temperature on the earth’s surface is probably the greatest cost that we would pay yet in the quest for achieving higher rates of industrial development, economic growth and increasing our levels of comfort. IPCC and UNEP reports had confirmed long back that anthropogenic activities i.e. human induced activities were the prime causes of Global warming and Global dimming, Recognising all that Science has done for us, Global warming is probably a stark reminder to man that it is still yet to master Science. It is a common known fact now that Carbon di Oxide emissions from industries and cars are the culprits of a depletion of the Ozone layer and hence Global Warming. The effects of Global Warming are going to be dire to say the least. Higher temperatures would imply Melting ice caps resulting into floods. Not only would temperature differentials lead to droughts, floods, heat waves and hurricanes etc. as was seen last year but it also leads to greater probability of diseases such as diarrhoea spreading at a faster pace. There is economics involved too; an increased frequency of hurricanes, disease spread would imply greater costs to be borne by the governments and a huge diversification of funds towards the social sector rather than productive investment. And we do not even know how far reaching or how adverse the consequences would be. It is important for the people hence to realise that Global Warming is not a scientific myth, but a growing reality waiting to dawn upon us. Effects like an early arrival of spring can be seen in India itself.
Scientists argue that Global Warming was not an intended consequence of scientific development which is an argument that pales in comparison to the adverse effects that it will result in. Even if that fact is true to an extent it is important for us to realise that the effects would be felt and that there is no escaping that. Hence, in addition to conservation strategies that are being put in place it is also important to start adapting to the changing scenario as well. Global Warming could be combated successfully only if Adaptation and Mitigation strategies go hand in hand.
It would also be interesting to note, that with the Kyoto Protocol expiring, and a summit in Copenhagen in September later this year scheduled to draft a post- Kyoto framework, what results especially for India since it along with other developing countries have been criticized for being given exemptions as also the relative failure of the Cap and Trade system as a means to reduce carbon emissions. Though measures such as a Futures Index trading in carbon have been advocated as a more efficient means to trade carbon, it still remains to be seen as to how a truly global solution to the problem is worked out given that the Developing and the Developed nations are clearly split on the issue.
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