global temperature nature
Special Correspondent ,New Delhi : Over a period of time, the world is witnessing catastrophic climate change. In order to save human civilisation and the biosphere from the most extreme effects of environmental degradation, immediate action initiated by the world leaders of different nations is the need of the hour to curb global warming.
While fossil fuels must be utilised in a sustainable manner, forests must be saved from destruction by beef or palm oil production.
However, such vitally necessary actions are opposed by fossil fuel corporations to generate powerful economic interests as they are desperate to monetise their underground ‘assets’, and corrupt politicians receiving money from beef or palm oil industries.
Humans, who are already contributing to the greenhouse effect, are expected to witness more warming if gas emissions are not cut to a large extent.
Although, the worst calamities lie in the distant future, some of the disastrous effects of climate change are already visible.
California is burning! Till August this year, 7175 fires have burned 1,660,332 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
In addition, a north eastern Siberian town – north of the Arctic Circle – is likely to have set a record for the highest temperature documented in the Arctic Circle, with a reading of 100.4 degrees (38 Celsius) recorded in June, 2020.
Furthermore, wildfires in the Arctic are emitting an unprecedented amount of CO2.
Hurricane season has started early this year, notably with Laura, and it is predicted to be unusually severe.
While, Greenland’s ice sheet is melting ice shelves are collapsing in the Antarctic. In spite such signs of danger already wrecking havoc to the planet, the climate emergency, that ought to be a central issue, is hardly mentioned in the 2020 political campaigns or in U.S. mass media.
“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale; our greatest threat in thousands of years. If we do not take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world are on the horizon. The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now”, said Sir David Attenborough at the opening ceremony of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland.
However, warming may vary as passing a ‘tipping point’ can result in sudden or irreversible climate changes despite human efforts to control it. Tipping points are associated with feedback loops, such as the albedo effect and the methane hydrate.
The albedo effect signifies whether the sunlight falling on seas of Polar Regions is reflected or absorbed. While ice remains, most of the sunlight is reflected, but as areas of sea surface becomes ice-free, more sunlight is absorbed, leading to rise in local temperatures and further melting of sea ice.
The methane hydrate feedback loop involves large quantities of powerful greenhouse gas, methane (CH4), frozen in a crystalline form and surrounded by water molecules. It is estimated that 10,000 gigatons of methane hydrates are at present locked in Arctic tundra or the continental shelves of the world’s oceans representing large energy reserve for mankind. Although oceans warm very slowly, climate warming can destabilise these hydrates and that excess release of methane from the ocean in the atmosphere can further intensify greenhouse effect.
Additionally, large-scale anthropogenic activities are also accelerating further release of greenhouse gases.
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General said that climate change was already “a matter of life and death” for many countries adding that the world is “nowhere near where it needs to be” on the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Our house is on fire. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50 per cent. It seems money and growth is our only main concerns”, said world-famous teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg during a speech at Davos in 2019.
Expressing her concern, Thunberg further added, “We are at a time in history where everyone with any insight of the climate crisis that threatens our civilisation – and the entire biosphere – must speak out in clear language, no matter how uncomfortable and unprofitable that may be.