|ABU Otsuki Award
“Climate Change – Meaning, Implications, Suggested Solutions”
India Babooja Ranjan Choudhury (37/Male)
During the occasional halts in my village, I consistently come across people conversing on climate and complaining about and cursing climate change blaming it for crippling their agriculture and economy as well as fading away of the flavour and the fragrance of their traditional season-based festivities.
This is not the story of just one village of one country. Climate change is a global phenomenon. So, it has its impact in one way or the other on the variety and variegation that is vigorously visible in the vegetations, animals, societies and human cultures and civilizations all of which owe their existence and acme to the climate. In a global village of international relationships, united actions must be undertaken to encounter any untoward effect owing to climate alteration on the earth.
COMPREHENDING CLIMATE AND CLIMATE CHANGE:
Technically speaking, climate is the sum total of the weather elements (along with their variations)—“temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity”—over a large area in relation to this area’s geographical invariables—“latitude, altitude, pressure and wind-system, distance from the sea (continentality), ocean currents and relief features”—for a period of 95 years at a stretch.
Accordingly, climate change can be termed as “the outcome of alteration of the geographical invariables and/or fluctuation (exaggeration/diminution) in weather elements”. As all the constituents of clime are inter-related and inter-woven with one another, impact of change in one owing to alteration in time, variation in degree and fluctuation in magnitude will have bearing on all of them.
Clime variation is not a new phenomenon. But “the current climate change”, as Professor Murari Lal, Climatologist, explains and convinces us, is being created and accelerated primarily by “environmental aberrations and global warming”. The substances responsible for environment pollution, global warming and Ozone layer depletion, e.g. suspended particulate matters; green house gases (prominently, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide); CFC and halons; act as the agents of climate change. Unprecedented population growth; unscrupulous urbanization, unlimited industrialization and exploitation of natural resources; excessive use and abuse of innumerable objects and articles propelling environment pollution and rampant deforestation aggravate and accentuate the impact of climate change.
IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE:
Clime variation will be manifested, indicates RK Pachauri, the Chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change through “irregular seasonal cycle, unforeseen and unpredictable melting down of glaciers and Polar ice, increase in the sea level, unseasoned cyclones and heavy or no/subnormal rainfalls, floods, droughts, famines”. Our world is already feeling the stress of the hottest summers, the fiercest cyclones and typhoons, the worst droughts and downpour, alarming rise in the sea level and the collapse of agriculture in many countries. The dreadful droughts that confronted India the last summer and Mumbai’s crippling downpours can be viewed as disasters triggered by climate change.
The effects of climate alteration, Professor Syed Iqbal Hasnai, the climate expert apprehends, will further deteriorate the persistently worsening and perilously declining positions of “natural resources, wildlife and biodiversity”. Agricultural productivity and per capita portable water availability will decline; outbreak of identified as well as unheard diseases will upsurge. For instance, an average half-a degree centigrade increase in the global temperature may decrease 17% maze production, 10% forest coverage; increase 50% Dengue; extinguish 30% animals and plants up to 2030 and 56000 types of plants and 3700 types of animals and other creatures up to 2050.
Is there any concrete road-map to be followed for combating the looming crisis of climate change? This is the million dollar question to be answered and promptly addressed for the billions of people and other animals and plants on the earth. True, that international communities have been expressing their anxieties over this issue and chalking out some policies and action plans through several for a like The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (in The Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro (1992), Kyoto Protocol (1997) and recently concluded UN Conference on Climate Change at Copenhagen. But the front-running recalcitrant and industrially rich regimes of the so-called Annex 1 nations (under the Kyoto Protocol), particularly the USA, England, Australia etc. must act sensitively and responsibly. They should: reduce up to 25% to 40% of their green house gas emission at 1990 levels by 2020 or by at least 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012 as committed in the Kyoto protocol; avail internationally binding mechanism to ensure free flow of the best clean technology to all the developing countries; and allocate up to 500$ billion a year to the developing countries towards environment-friendly adaptation measures.
The leadership of India should also own its international accountability and perform accordingly. Back home, it must enforce the industrial ethics of clean technology and green policy; utilize the mass media and the educational instruments for enhancing awareness on environment aberrations and impact of climate change amongst the public; effectively implement the large scale programmes of aforestation, rain water harvesting; facilitate the use of renewable energies; and adopt sustainable and environment-friendly development policies. I will also suggest every individual to “plant at least one tree”, “save and preserve each drop of water”, “conserve forests, soil and energy”, “give up smoking” and “make minimum utilization of vehicles consuming fossil fuels”.
Nobody should have an iota of doubt that our mother earth is under tight grief of climate change and the terror of troubles is getting tougher with the passage of time. The panic button has been pressed due to the damage already done to the climate mechanism. Need of the hour is only action and not “advice for action” for mending that damage.
“Wisdom will win; recalcitrance will ruin”. So, my clarion call for every individual, community and nation is “to walk alone even if no one else walks along” and to work with dedication and commitment to combat the menace of climate change.