Nillratan Halder |
September 15, 2022, 21:12:10
Last week’s monsoons caused a monsoon even though this year’s monsoon was reportedly the driest on record. In fact, for the past seven years now, the rainy season has been drier than before. It is interesting that autumn and the monsoons seem to have conspired to exchange their roles and positions. Well, it is not entirely uncommon in the month of Bhadra or Asween that large amounts of rain fall due to the low bottoms and gale-force storms in the bay. But what is particularly remarkable about the rains of the last few days is that they are 100 percent of their monsoon-like characteristics with a fine drizzle coming out of nowhere and fading in no time to come back again and this continued like a game of hide and seek.
So far, it has not posed a threat to major parts of Bangladesh. But coastal areas in the south are bearing the brunt, showing how vulnerable they are to turbulence and sea level rise. Dams have given coastal protection at several points – and not for the first time this year – to allow storm waters to inundate village after village and its farmland. It provides a typical picture of the catastrophic loss of vast coastal areas to future sea-level rise. The threat now appears real and horribly ominous.
In this context, the United Nations Climate Science Report released last Tuesday set an alarm bell. The report points the finger at governments for not matching their actions with the pledges they made at the Paris climate conference and for calling them by default for climate catastrophe perhaps earlier than expected. The study of many factors responsible for climate change such as carbon dioxide emissions, rising global temperatures, climate predictions, “tipping points”, urban climate change, the effects of extreme weather and early warning systems, by researchers under the “Union in Science” coordinated by the organization The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) concluded that the world was “going in the wrong direction”.
Far from doing the essential work to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, whose ultimate goal is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, people around the world are generally doing just the opposite. Not completely unaware that they are running out of time to piece together their actions to restore the health of the planet, they are all the same in causing the greatest damage to the only place known to enhance spirits.
Currently, the concentration of greenhouse gases is accumulating to a record high, and emissions of fossil fuels are at levels higher than those that existed in the time before the pandemic. But policy makers anywhere in the world have rarely been mandated to seriously advance programs for an early transition to green or green energy technology. In light of the loopholes and failure to comply with the Paris Agreements, the reduction of greenhouse gases must be boosted seven times, climate scientists now estimate. The prospect of its incarnation clearly appears bleak at a time when world leaders are concerned with issues other than this one so vital to the survival of the human race.
One important issue that many non-scientists involved do not notice is the ocean current responsible for transferring heat from the tropics to the northern hemisphere. Alarmingly, the ocean current is at its slowest level in 1,000 years – a fact crucial enough to disrupt the planet’s weather pattern. This finding by the United Nations Environment Program and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction certainly brings a new dimension to climate change and may indicate areas that must be addressed to halt environmental degradation.
When there is so much at stake, scientists have done their groundwork in order to alert political leaders but unless the latter respond to the emergency immediately, scientists will have no way to stop the planet’s rapidly deteriorating health. If political leaders and policy makers have missed the warning given by scientists in the capitals of the world, the massive changes taking place in lifelines and vital natural resources should have brought them to their senses. Unfortunately, no amount of environmental upheaval has led them to collectively search for something equally rooted as the problem.
They are unable to respond properly to some unprecedented environmental developments of catastrophic proportion that indicate the catastrophic devastation that is expected to unfold in the coming days. Currently, Pakistan is struggling with an unprecedented flood, and some European countries, including Britain and France, have had to stand the test of heat waves they have not experienced before. Just one year before more than 800 people were killed in North America and Canada in so-called heat domes. Melting polar ice caps and Himalayan glaciers may be distant phenomena but when the sources of rivers in their backyards dry up or lose their course, they cannot and should not turn a blind eye to catastrophic developments. Politics, unfortunately, has other priorities as evidenced by the choice of the UK’s Conservative Party leadership.
Aside from drastically curbing the use of fossil fuels, the most the world can gain is by radically changing the current pattern of prolific consumption. This poses a direct threat to a free market economy that thrives on stimulating unnecessary and unnecessary consumption. There is already a movement in the West that promotes the virtue of minimalism but it is still a marginal force that has not yet gained momentum. Like it or not, the survival of the human race largely depends on a radical reduction in the standard of living and the avoidance of excessive comfort and luxuries.