Are we really doomed?

Picture credits: Scientific American magazine

We have never cared enough of our homeland. We have always treated it so badly believing nothing of danger can ever take place. In retaliation, however the very place we call our ‘home’ has been very patient with us just like parents are with their children. Human race seems to have forgotten that every action has a reaction and that reaction is lingering upon us for quite a long time now. Climate change is a very big concern. It is sad it is not being given the highest priority by the political leaders. It looks like the issue still lacks a lot of political will. There are important questions that puzzle a lot of people (especially those who care about climate change): Are we really doomed? Is it too late to reverse the ecological collapse? Are we seriously running out of time? These questions are quite daunting. Yet we must address them so that we have a clearly laid out plan to do our best.

It is obvious that earth’s atmosphere is majorly comprised of nitrogen and oxygen. There is carbon-dioxide too but its percentage is very low: 0.04%. Unfortunately, the percentage is rising and the more carbon-dioxide is in earth’s atmosphere the hotter the earth gets because Co2 traps sunlight that comes in the atmosphere. According to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) global carbon-dioxide emissions flattened at 33 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2019 after a consecutive increase for two years. This may sound like positive news but the number is still very alarming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in 2018 revealed that if we want to limit warming to an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century we will have to limit the carbon emissions by 45% by the year 2030 and further cutting down carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. It looks like we have 10 years left to prevent climate crisis to a greater extent and 30 years to complete the job altogether. But to scientists the time frame seems a little misleading to general public.

“The world will not end if we pass 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming above preindustrial levels,” said Katharine Mach, a climate scientist at the University of Miami. But such deadlines give forth an important message: every year we delay addressing climate change is an invitation to an ecological catastrophe. An ecologist at Georgetown University, Colin Carlson believes there is no point in debating which year climate change is going to show up because it is already here. His research has shown that diseases caused by mosquitoes like dengue and malaria prevail more in warmer climate. Every year hundreds or thousands of people die. I know my opinion is going to be completely anecdotal but I am seeing already how mosquitoes prevail in my neighborhood even in the month of December!! They don’t seem to go away for the whole year. Many regions in North America, South America, Africa and Asia are also becoming very hot to grow crops. Sea levels are already rising which is making it difficult to live in the coastal areas. Coral reefs are getting wiped out. High water temperature is making it very hard for them to survive. As a result, half of the corals have been lost in the Great Barrier Reef in the last two decades. Plants and animals will have a hard time to evolve because of the destruction we are causing to Mother Nature. Just imagine how hot it would be in areas near the equator!! We are already seeing forest fires all over the world. In the last months of 2019, Australia witnessed worst-ever forest fires killing or severely damaging crores of animals. Thousands of people had to leave their homes and the country suffered millions of dollars of property damage.

Sir David Attenborough who is a natural historian and broadcaster believes things are getting out of our hands and they are only going to get worse if we still stay ignorant. In one of the interviews with Channel 4 he said his biggest fear regarding the implications of climate change is that there is going to be mass civil unrest and mass migration. When asked if it is actually too late to reverse climate change he said, “It’s too late to reverse it. Not in my lifetime, but in the next lifetime. I don’t think you can reverse it. I think the best that we can hope is that we will slow it down, and slow it down considerably.”

Climate change is a very serious problem. I personally disagree that we can delay it any further. The best time to do something about it is NOW. Nothing ever gets done until we prioritize it and it seems like leaders do not look at climate crisis as a priority. With innovations made possible with science and technology we humans have drastically changed the course of our lives. What’s needed right now is to use brilliant minds to innovate methods that can help tackle the problem of climate change. The situation should not be taken lightly anymore. It is true things are not so good no matter what is being projected. But we must not lose hope. We should stay positive that a lot can happen if we take the right steps at the right time. And that time is not tomorrow, day after tomorrow or 4 months later. The right time is NOW.