Opinion / OP Rana

More bitter truths about climate change

By Op Rana (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-20 08:05

More bitter truths about climate changeThe word "risk" has been used 351 times in the 127-page final draft of the synthesis report that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sent to governments across the world last month. The report combines three earlier, massive tomes of documents by the IPCC, all of which have gone unheeded by a world which has its priorities in all the wrong places.

The IPCC report reiterates global warming is a reality and caused by humans. And most alarmingly, it says the process could be irreversible. The report connects, in the starkest language possible, all the scientific disciplines studying the problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Issuing a harsh warning, the IPCC once again illustrates what's causing global warming and what it will do to the environment, and thus humans. And, as it has been doing for years, especially since its path-breaking report in 2007, the IPCC has suggested how the problem can be mitigated, saying this is perhaps the last chance to prevent temperatures from rising by about 3.7 C by the end of this century.

A rise of 3.7 C in the average temperature worldwide may not appear to be catastrophic to people used to the comforts of air-conditioners but it means an end to the world as we know it today.

For one, it could change the map of the world. Many islands could vanish, coastlines in many parts of the world, especially in low-lying cities like Shanghai, Mumbai and New York City, could move deeper inland, and huge deltas could vanish into the seas. Glaciers from the Himalayas and the Alps to the Andes could recede drastically, if not altogether dry up, leading to a severe water crisis and droughts. More hurricanes and typhoons could wreak havoc on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. And agricultural land could shrink creating an unfathomable global food crisis. The list of consequences is unending.

But the worst part of such a horrifying scenario is that the poor and vulnerable, and people in countries that are least, or not at all, responsible for turning nature into a fury, will be the worst sufferers.

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