Climate worries

The changes are rapidly gaining momentum.

The prediction that there will be more frequent and severe failures of the Indian monsoon in the next two centuries is the latest warning on the impact of global warming on natural phenomena and its consequences on human and animal life. Researchers  have claimed  that there could be a drastic 40-70 per cent reduction in rainfall  if the present trend of  the warming of the atmosphere caused by emissions is not reversed.  It is easy to dismiss such claims as scare-mongering, as even a section of the scientific community does with the argument that the relationship between global warming and climate change has not yet been fully understood. But more and more persuasive evidence is coming out, based on studies being made all over the world.

There is a view that the severity of the superstorm Sandy that hit the US north-east coast last week might have been accentuated by global warming conditions. There have been  many other freak weather events  in the recent past. The monsoon has been erratic in India. The US  experienced an unprecedented heat wave this year and Europe  saw more than normal rainfall. The snow cover in mountains has been depleting and mean temperatures increasing, causing sea levels to rise. All this can cause major changes in the way life is lived on earth and lead to social and economic cataclysms. The changes may be slow, but they keep gaining momentum  and when the tipping point comes, it will be difficult to undo the damage which would already have been done.

Civilizations have perished because of climate changes. If the climate disasters in the past  were mostly natural, the ongoing changes are man-made and so it is within the power of human beings to take corrective steps. But there is no sense of urgency or sign of wisdom guiding the efforts to deal with the problem of carbon emissions  that cause global warming.  International talks are at a dead end. National governments, international  agencies and others  involved in the talks should address the issues with a greater sense of urgency before it is too late to act. Many things can happen in the next two centuries which may diminish or neutralise the threat of climate change, but it is better to act on the basis of present fears than on hopes for future.

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