Global warming is disastrous globally

By Dr Anil P Joshi


Global warming and climate change are currently the most important challenges for the earth today. The phenomena is characterized by long-term shifts in temperature, precipitation patterns, and other aspects of the Earth’s climate system. We are likely to cross the temperature bearing limit of earth.

From 0.5 degree in 1850 in pre-industrial era to 1 degree in 2020, it is showing a constantly rising trend. As per NASA, North Africa, west Asia, Europe within 46 years from 1976 to 2022 have observed a rise of 0.9 degrees, an alarming situation.

In fact, it is all because of the greenhouse effect. Coal use Carbon emission in 1970 was 0.39 cubic meter per capita, which increased to 1.87 by 2022. Besides CO2 emissions, methane is a greater threat as it is 25 times more harmful.

This comes from farming patterns, animal husbandry and many water bodies – lakes, etc. also emit methane. Currently, the records reveal that greenhouse impact has upset the entire earth ecosystem. It is primarily caused by human activities, particularly the emission of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels over consumption of energy and natural resources.

It is also speculated that limiting this trend of temperature rise does not seem possible because of current desired development targets. One decade ago, chances of temperature rise was 10 percent, in 2020 it was 20 percent and last year in 2022, it was 48 percent, and in the next 5 years it is anticipated to be 66 percent. If this is going to be a pattern, we can imagine our fate.

Next 70 years are going to be more disastrous if we didn’t took notice of this change immediately.

One of the reports by the scientists revealed that there will be six times more deaths because of changes in temperature, environment and ecosystem. In this context, it is important to quote that night temperature will be upset and the body physiology will be affected adversely. This, in turn, is going to affect immunity and physiology and will bring many changes in human and wildlife behavior.

This study was based on data from 28 cities across the globe including China, Japan, South Korea. It was found that from 1980 to 2015, there have been more serious developments in the ecological disasters.

According to North Carolina University, by 2090 East Asian cities will have to face night temperature up by 20 degrees Celsius to 39.9 degree Celsius which will be almost 60% more.

This is not only the issue of heat waves but as man-animal conflict will also become more intense.

According to one of the University of Washington, there will be four times more human wildlife conflict spread across forest to ocean. African elephants will cause more of Agri farm invasion while in India the beast will invade villages. Increasing numbers of Ships in the ocean will clash with big fishes while lowering forest density will cause wildlife to enter villages for food and shelter. This will happen because of climate change that will create food scarcity and will trigger high intensity of conflict.

Another study has revealed that there will be high fluctuations in the number of days that will face heat waves. In 2013 there were 100 days, which had risen to 174 in 2019. In 2022, the number of heatwave days had become 190. Thus, in a single decade, there has been a 62% rise in the number of days under heat waves.

This wouldn’t end here only, it is reported that natural disasters will go up by at least times more than what we are experiencing today. Take the case in India, it has been observing repeated heat waves because of climate change. In India, cold waves in 2022 were 57 days which is lesser than the average days. This number was 105 in 2019 and falling to 101 in 2021. This shows the number of warm days are increasing in India, lowering cold wave days. And, this all has happened within a decade only.

The striking impact of global climate change is the increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, including cyclones. Warmer earth temperatures lead to the formation of more intense storms. Atmosphere retains more moisture due to temperature rise and this triggers required pressure for cyclones to develop and strengthen. Additionally, rising sea levels also aggregate the destruction of cyclones, as storm surges can cause more extensive flooding and coastal erosion.

There have been numerous scientific studies that have shown a correlation between global warming and the increased frequency and intensity of cyclones. Warmer ocean temperatures provide more energy for cyclones to form and inflict destruction.

As per IPCC report cyclones, flash floods and other climate-related disasters will be repeated often. This goes to aggressive human development activities, and poor combating drives. Unabated, unscrupulous and unmarked planning are basic reasons. High energy consuming lifestyles across the globe have made earth red. Temperature rise did not only trigger disasters but also led to the derailing of life support resources, especially water and air. The comfortable access to these resources have also been tempered. Water availability has now become 1400 cubic meter from 5000 cubic meter in 1950. Quality of life targets are disqualified now because of the human approach towards nature.

Currently the issues have to be around building resilience and reducing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, for example developing resistant infrastructure, effective land-use planning, and promoting natural ecosystems that may serve as buffers against calamities. On the other hand, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the extent of climate change and associated disasters will be more important. This demands less coal use and preferring renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and promoting policies to create sustainable practices.

Global climate change is a challenge to manage the recurrence and severity of natural disasters.

The first step is to curtail resource use and that will only be possible through reducing our footprints. Current lifestyle is a major factor inducing climate change. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting climate resilience, and developing a robust ecosystem, can only work towards not only minimizing the impacts of global warming and protecting vulnerable communities but will also restore natural resources.

Dr. Anil Prakash Joshi is an environmentalist, green activist, and the founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO). A recipient of Padma Shri in 2006 and Padma Bhushan in 2020 for environmental conservation, Joshi has coined the term, “GEP: Gross Environmental Product”.


Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times 

Images courtesy of NOAA and Provided

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