In another slap in the face for climate change deniers, a scientific paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Wednesday has proven that forecasts of global temperature increases over the past 15 years have been extremely accurate.
The new research says that the early years of the new millennium were warmer than expected. In recent times the temperature has been closer to the predicted level. The paper proves that commentators who say that the global warming is less severe and threatening than predicted are wrong. These parties had wrongly interpreted the comparative slowdown in warming since the early 2000s as sign that the worst was over.
The quibbling over the Kyoto Protocol has shown governments the world over are not taking the threat seriously enough, and thus endangering the planet and its inhabitants. It is time the citizens of the world took things in their own hands.
The environment has been a universal factor on the socio-religious agenda of all ancient civilisations. This is reflected in nature worship being the common denominator of all ancient races – be it the worship of sun among the Mayans in South America or trees and animals among the Harrapans in the Indian subcontinent. A tale from the Mahabharata talks about the symbiotic relationship between lions and jungles. The gist is that if there are no lions in the jungles, the woodcutters will cut them down, while if there are no jungles it would be difficult for the lions to survive the hunters. Man and environment have a similar relationship. The hunters and woodcutters in this case are eco threats like depletion of the ozone layer and the build up of gasses in the atmosphere which cause the global warming that could spell doom for Mother Earth.
The environment has been a universal factor on the socio-religious agenda of all ancient civilisations.
Should environment always pay the price for economic development? Not if the right balance is struck. Stringent enforcement of environmental norms by governments can be an answer. But in this era of deregulation and liberalisation the Big Brother syndrome is an anachronism. With comprehensive policing having its pros and cons- the nation may not gain green cover but the personal coffers of the officials may get greener, especially in the developing countries – making an individual eco-conscious is a better bet.
Environmental damage has been a modern deadly sin the world over. Illegal tree felling, MNCs dumping hazardous wastes in Third World countries or even the US Army practising in jungles of the Philippines with host of other nations are all sides of the same coin. The governments refusing to learn from the destruction inflicted by extreme weather events which are aggravated by climate change, such as Typhoon Bopha and Hurricane Sandy are also at fault.
As always the onus of survival rests with the society. Education should begin at home, in fact, right from the childhood. Small things such as not wasting food, water and paper, switching off electricity when not needed, etc., if ingrained from childhood would go a long way in making the world greener. But for this to succeed, adults will have to practice what they preach. The world is racing towards the tipping point where if we don’t stop global warming now we may be condemning future generations and Mother Earth to assured destruction.
Ashutosh is a senior business journalist who mastered the skills of the trade at the top India business daily, The Economic Times. He played a key role in the launch of Deccan Chronicle group’s business newspaper, ‘Financial Chronicle’.