Tupul landslide: An impact of climate change
K Rajeshwar Sharma
Contd from previous issue
It has been shown that carbon, particularly from fossil burning, has risen significantly since the second half of the 19th century. It is estimated that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has risen by 50%. In its report in 2021, the Climate Action Tracker group predicted that the world could be 2.4 degree Celsius warmer by the end of the 21st century unless further action is taken. However, some scientists are more pessimistic. They fear that by the same time, global warming could be higher than 4 degree Celsius if nothing is done to stop it.
With the global warming of 1.2 degree Celsius more, the world has witnessed extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and devastating heat waves sweeping across Europe and North America. These extreme weather events are the impacts of climate change which has different effects in different parts of the world. Some places in North West India are being scorched by heat waves with temperature rising up to 48 degree Celsius while the North Eastern States are battered by heavy rainfalls causing widespread flooding in Assam and massive landslide in Manipur.
Further warming beyond 1.5 degree Celsius might turn some countries in the Middle East into uninhabitable barren deserts. In some other regions, the opposite could happen with extreme rainfall causing large scale flooding and landslides of greater intensity than the ones that happened in Assam and Manipur recently. The United Kingdom and Europe are likely to have extreme weather conditions.
Some African countries could be devastated by droughts and famines while some island Nations such as Maldives in the Indian Ocean, and low lying cities like Mumbai will disappear under rising seas that rose 20 cm in the last century. Climate change affects everyone, every animal and every living being no matter where he or she is on this planet Earth. It threatens human civilizations. There is an urgent need to tackle climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen into the atmosphere. However, no country can tackle climate change alone. It can only be tackled by working together among countries. In a landmark agreement in Paris in 2015, many countries pledged to keep global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. In 2021, at the Glasgow Summit on climate change better known as COP26, almost all the countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as it is possible by using less fossil fuels, and using more renewable energy from the Sun and wind. However, the United States Supreme Court in its recent landmark ruling has curtailed some of the powers of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. President Joe Biden called it a “devastating decision” that could undermine the efforts to tackle the crisis of climate change. Yuval Noah Harari, a renowned historian, warns, “…….unless we dramatically cut the emission of greenhouse gases in the next twenty years, average global temperatures will increase by more than 20C, resulting in expanding deserts, disappearing ice caps, rising oceans and more frequent extreme weather events such as hurricanes and typhoons. These changes in turn will disrupt agricultural production, inundate cities, make much of the world uninhabitable and send hundreds of millions of refugees in search of new homes.”