"Climate change is silent human crisis”, says Kofi Annan, the former UN head. Yes, look at the grim situation that confronts us. Here are the warnings from the experts.
Death of 300,000 people every year due to climate change, threats in the form of disease, starvation and conflict mainly due to damage to crops and homes that will around $125 billion every year. Further, floods, heat waves and forest fires will cause half-a-million deaths annually by 2030 and cost $300 billion globally. Developing poor countries like Bangladesh and Sudan will suffer more floods and drought. All these potential dangers call for a budget of $25 billion a year as compared to $14.2 billion in 2006. Further $50 billion a year will be needed to help poorer countries adapt to global warming as the poorer nations suffer more due to climate change as compared to fewer people suffering from floods in the rich countries.
Further potential damages? Recent study of Antarctica reveals that a huge ice shelf has become unstable due to global warming. And UK is planning to restrict tourism in the Antarctica. Arctic ice is now thinner than ever. Oceans may not be able to absorb increased greenhouse gases. Sea levels could rise by 10 feet by the end of this century. Migrating birds will have to fly 250 miles more due to global warming. Many animal species could become totally extinct due to rise in global heat. Natural disasters caused by climate change will affect about 400 million people within six years as warned by Oxfam of UK. Nobel Laureates warn the climate change to be as severe as nuclear warfare.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows a 7.4C rise in temperature would result in severe collapse of ecosystem as well as the economic system worldwide. Severe natural resource crunch will be the inevitable consequence causing large-scale migration and water wars.
In spite of all these potential dangers, it is feared that domestic politics in many nations may not allow immediate and effective measures to combat climate change.
According to Professor Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, climate change is a "crisis situation" that calls for a wide range of measures. The Obama administration encourages energy efficiency forms of renewable energy such as wind, wave and solar. Painting roofs white to deflect sun’s rays thereby saving substantial energy and money on air-conditioning. The Internet can be effectively employed to pass on the message across the entire world. In his opinion, the US and China should move first and fast in this direction and set example to the poorer nations. China is now a rousing giant of global warming. More fuel-efficient and less carbon-emitting cars and energy-efficient bulbs in the place of frosted lights can do wonders, but many nations do not act with urgency that the situation demands.
Lightening roof and roads in urban areas could effectively and easily offset the warming effect of all the cars all over the globe for 11 long years. The European Union proposes to replace frosted light bulbs and with more energy-efficient bulbs.
Is this thinking not a hope for mankind? Let us al think and act responsibly.
The solution? Rapid and massive steps as well as urgent and significant policy action by the nations.
So let us all wake up to the clarion call by Mr. Annan and keep the temperature rise below 3.6 degrees.