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Millennium Post

Change for worse

Water and food shortages, civil wars, extreme fluctuations in day-to-day weather, unseasonal rain, flood and drought, crop loss, rising seawater level, acidic ocean waters – these are only some of the issues charted in the latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In what has already become starkly evident throughout the world, ecosystem and habitat loss is only the tip of the iceberg that is heading towards us, courtesy the unchecked emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and uncontrolled effusion of industrial effluents, especially super-toxic chemical and nuclear debris. The IPCC report clearly states that food insecurity and civil conflict will shoot up drastically, particularly in the developing and less developed countries, including those in South Asia, South East Asia as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. In what could resemble a disaster movie dreamt up by Hollywood’s showbiz merchants, coastal swathes of low-lying areas, including whole of South East Asia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, parts of peninsular India, would be submerged under perilously rising seawater and dangerously melting Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets. In what could bring civilisational functioning to a grinding halt, these challenges are assuming ever-greater scales that need intergovernmental coordination and urgent action to counter. Already, India has suffered heavy loss of wheat and maize yields, thanks to the rains that have continued till March end, causing unbearable distress to small farmers who have been pushed into penury. Random changes in temperature and heat waves have also affected produce, shooting food prices through the roof, hinting towards near famine conditions. Reports about farmers’ suicides in India have already hogged global headlines.

The IPCC report emphasises how ill-prepared we are to combat effects of climate change and how we are turning the Blue Planet into a blast furnace burning toxic fuels. The assessment of impact underlines how serious the condition is already, if worldwide weather freak-shows are anything to go by. The increased frequency of catastrophic cyclones, depletion marine life forms and extreme extinction of terrestrial and aerial species, the cutting down of precious evergreen forests, among other unpardonable acts, have already taken a heavy toll on our environment. It is no wonder that Earth is fighting back and at every possible instance, poor people, who are as vulnerable as other life forms, are bearing the brunt. Even as the global corporations deny climate change and bring out zombie ideas to brush off the near and present dangers, it is time to pay heed to them.
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