Thursday December 02, 2021

Planet in peril

October 18, 2021

Even if the world is able to cap climate change and global warming at the 1.5 degrees centigrade mark that it currently stands at since the pre-Industrial Age, experts warn that seas could still continue to rise, putting half a billion people in major cities at peril. If there is a lack of success in capping levels at this mark, and a rise above this even by half a degree centigrade, another 200 million people could be at risk. The biggest risk comes to nations like Bangladesh and Vietnam, which even in an extremely cold world would still face danger because of the damage that has already been done.

According to the organisation Climate Change, the carbon levels already existing in the atmosphere will continue to rise over hundreds of years and beyond 2100. This would mean that the seas would continue to surge to higher and higher levels, swamping cities and destroying agricultural land, homes and everything else that lies within these mega urban centres. This, of course, would be a disaster on an immensely gigantic scale. The world must then redouble its fight to keep CO2 levels at their present number and even reduce them further, if possible. This, of course, is a difficult task. There has not been much success so far in limiting carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. Asia is the continent most at risk from a rise in sea levels and the consequent surge in tidal waters sweeping over existing coastlines. We already know that islands like the Maldives are in danger of sinking below the sea already.

While climate change is once again on the world’s agenda, with the new US administration apparently more committed to it than its predecessor, it is difficult to see how we can bring carbon emissions down to the levels that are required to keep people safe. The task can be achieved but would need a massive effort and a massive amount of commitment from all industrial nations which are the biggest producers of carbon and a long-term strategy which can push down emissions and thereby at least limit the growth in climate levels to where it stands at the present time.