'Nature has nasty surprises ahead for mankind'

The consequences of the increasing global warming could be far more dangerous than what scientists have been predicting so far, according to David W Orr, special assistant to the US president on sustainability and environmental affairs and a Professor at Oberlin College, USA. 

“I am not sure how worse will be the consequences. But it’s sure that nature has nasty surprises ahead for mankind, if countries don’t come together to tackle carbon levels in the atmosphere. And in many cases, such consequences could be irreversible,” Orr said here on Tuesday. He was delivering a lecture on ‘Biodiversity in Hotter Time’ at the regional conference on biodiversity being held at the Indian Institute of Science. Orr, a well-known environmentalist, said the threat of global warming was already being witnessed in different parts of the world and Asian monsoon was also one such tipping point. Crop loss per degree of warming is set to hit major crops like Indian wheat, US maize, soybean, Asian rice and African maize, he said. Orr said it was high time the scientific community and authorities get out of their comfort zones and start rigorous exercise to control carbon emissions. “Sustainability should not be restricted to abstraction, as it is in many countries. Let’s make it real so that people feel it and practise it. We need climate positive cities and there is a need to redesign cities to make them sustainable,” he said. He suggested factors like stabilising or controlling all heat-trapping gases, global bargain for equity in terms of carbon emission per person, fairness across generations or species and politics as trusteeship will go a long way in controlling global warming.

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