from the editor-in-chief

Arun puri

An American geochemist gave us one of our most important idioms in 1975: global warming. In his research article ‘Climate change: are we on the brink of predicted global warming?’ In 2012, Wallace Smith Brocker predicted that a multiple increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would raise Earth’s average temperature above the temperatures experienced in the past 1,000 years.

This year we got a compelling answer to a question that Broker asked 46 years ago: Are we on the brink of global warming? The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, released in August, says that the last decade (2011-2020) was warmer than any other period in the past 1.25,000 years.

As previously predicted, not at the end of this century, but only in 2050, will the Earth reach a dangerous point. This little-known increase is likely to have dire consequences, and catastrophic weather events such as floods, torrential rains, and droughts will increase and kill entire species.

The report released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the first day of COP26, the ongoing UN climate change conference in Glasgow, says that global sea level rise accelerated from 2013 to new highs in 2021. , with the ‘oceans’ in ‘continuous temperature rise and acidification’ as well.

The weather is getting warmer and stranger. Because of this, lives are being lost as well as people’s livelihoods. From storms and wildfires in the US to heat waves in Japan and floods ravaging Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the world is beset by devastating climate change.

The polar caps are melting and falling. Rising ocean levels mean nations like Bangladesh and island nations like the Maldives are at risk of drowning by the end of this century. Coastal cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata can face the same fate.

We still don’t know if the global Kovid-19 pandemic, which occurred suddenly in 2020, was a natural outbreak or had leaked from the lab. But there is no such question about climate change. Humanity is solely responsible for the increase in global temperature. In the past two centuries, fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas were ignited, producing so-called greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and methane.

The fuel we burn in our vehicles, the coal that lights our power plants, and the forests we cut down to build our cities and farms have released billions of tons of those gases. Surrounded by these gases, the earth has become a greenhouse and the heat of the sun, trying to get out of it, increases the temperature. In short, it is the Holocaust that we have before us.

It is also clear that energy consumption is the key to development. Countries cannot lift their people out of poverty without having energy for them. Oil and coal are the main culprits because they are cheap and abundantly available, and it is easy to generate energy from them. As a result, emissions continue to increase.

By 2050, global net zero (removal of as much carbon as it is emitted) is the minimum we need to prevent temperatures from rising above 1.50 degrees Celsius. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ambitious commitments at COP26.

India will increase its non-fossil power generation capacity (from the current 150 GW) to 500 GW by 2030, reduce its total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes, and be completely carbon neutral by 2070, without releasing an iota of this gas in the atmosphere – will move into becoming.

How can we achieve such ambitious goals? The group’s editorial director (publisher) Raj Chengappa covered the 1992 Rio summit, one of the first to address climate change. He has written our cover story ‘How You Will Save the Earth’.

Explore 10 initiatives that help achieve this goal. In recent decades, scenes of doom have been featured countless times, but the situation only got worse. This cover story tells what needs to be done. Solutions abound, from upgrading batteries for electric cars to upgrading solar panels to exploring the possibilities of making gas an alternative fuel on the journey from coal to carbon-free fuels.

Then there is the issue of economic assistance to developing countries using green technology, for which developed countries must provide financial support on a large scale. Finally, we must also consider how governments around the world should work together in terms of politics and ambition if we want to save our planet from imminent destruction.

There are many other important and controversial issues that need to be resolved. First, there is the issue of climate justice and indiscriminate harm. Developed countries have brought us to the brink of environmental destruction due to the need for their development. Even now, most carbon emissions come from the developed world, but the underdeveloped world has to bear the brunt of its consequences.

There is also the question of money and technology. Developing countries do not have clean energy technologies or the money to pay for them. Developed countries promised in 2009 to give $ 100 billion to the developing world each year starting in 2020 for climate action, which has yet to be delivered.

Without eliminating this impasse, we will not be able to move forward. It is necessary to save the earth. If we do not act now with all seriousness and strength, our future generations will have to face a cruel and disastrous future. And she will never forgive us.

December 16, 2015 cover

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