Chills Signal Climate Crisis - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, April 18, 2024

Chills Signal Climate Crisis

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 16, 2024 12:11 am

Many Indian states, especially in the north and the northeast are gripped by cold wave, amid temperatures plummeting below normal levels this winter. According to the India Meteorological Department, Delhi recorded the second coldest winter in several decades and attributed it to intense western disturbances experienced in the beginning of this year. Cold weather and fog have forced several flights to be delayed in the national capital. Northeastern states, including Nagaland, have also been reeling under extreme cold weather conditions, with most areas recording temperatures below 3 degree Celsius this winter. But this is not a new phenomenon and is on the expected line. Things will only get worse from here if the world fails to control carbon dioxide emissions. The bone-chilling temperatures being experienced today is a warning bell for the future of humankind. According to scientists, the pattern of the polar vortex, a low pressure area and cold air surrounding the Earth’s poles, is affected by the warming of the Arctic region, leading to severe winters in several parts of the world. To mitigate imminent threats including intense heat waves, rising sea-levels, natural calamities, loss of wildlife, cold wave, etc., the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change had set a global target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But in an alarming revelation, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service recently said that global warming exceeded 1.5°C in one year, from February 2023 to January 2024. It has not broken the landmark Paris agreement but the trend is a matter of concern, as failure to reduce carbon emissions by the world community could potentially cause irreversible impacts on the environment and pose a serious challenge to living organisms, including humans.

The consequences of global warming have hit home, with incidents of droughts, flash floods, cyclonic storms, wildfires, etc. consistently increasing in India over the years. It is important to remember that climate change not only affects the ecosystem, agriculture, livestock and livelihood but also human health. So, it is imperative for the central and state governments to build climate resilience by framing effective mitigating measures, quick response to climate challenges and adapting to changes. Disaster prevention plans should be in place to reduce environmental, human and financial losses. Special attention should be given to the Himalayan region, including Northeast India, as it is more vulnerable to climate impacts and natural calamities. While it is vital to boost infrastructure in the region, especially in the connectivity sector, the government should take up developmental projects only after thorough research by experts to avoid loss of human lives and damage to the environment. It’s better to take precautions and be prepared than to be sorry. It will be too costly for the central government to undermine the wellbeing of the “lungs of India”.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 16, 2024 12:11:01 am
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