Global warming effect
All over the world agriculture harvest will slump by nearly 10 per cent by 2020, and in all probability up to 30 per cent by 2050. Crop yields to drop, and consequently prices of foodgrains, pulses and seafood are expected to surge beyond common man'sreach. Himalayan glaciers will melt, threatening 700 million people. If one goes by the current rate of melting, the glaciers will disappear by 2035. The present trend of decline in grain harvests, chronic flooding, heat waves and droughts would become worse. A 2-degree celcius rise in temperature will plunge rice harvest in China by 30 per cent. Sea water temperature rise would affect marine production, which is yet to be estimated. Global wheat, corn and barley production would be down by 40 million tones. More than 200 million people would be displaced because of the rising sea-level and submersion. The Mediterranean region would become arid and lose capacity to yield any farming produce. The worst destruction would be seen in the sub-Saharan and Asian regions.
Mark Tully'sfirst book on India is now becoming prophetic. In his book No full stops in India, Tully had explained that the western concepts could never be extended to countries like India when gauging the national progress and development. If every Indian family owns a car, a television, a refrigerator, etc. will the planet have enough resources left? Think about it. We are a billion plus people. In a seminar on real estate in Mumbai last year, an official from Wipro had raised the same point about sustainable growth, what with so many malls, expressways, new cars, all coming up across the country. If 250 million people or 25 crore families own cars, will there be any fuel left on this planet, and will we have enough roads to ply them on? What will be the consequences of emissions from such large number of vehicles on climate change?
The latest report from the UN on climate change brings forth this long-held conventional thinking that Gandhiji'sphilosophy of there-is-enough-for-everyone?s-need-but-not-for-everyone?s-greed and Hinduism holds true. Global warming has been brought about by the second phase of high economic growth in India and China. Not that the developed countries are paragons of virtue. Their development had started the first phase of global warming, which according to foreign media, made the situation ?beyond the tipping point??. Even in remote villages of India global warming has led to devastating consequences. Wells, which had perennially borne water for centuries, ran dry. And the same wells have filled up to the brim during the recent years? heavy rains, which shook the foundation of the surrounding houses. Both have been considered bad omen by villagers.
Indian farmers have instinctive knowledge of weather and prospects of harvesting, but their instincts don'tprove right anymore as the climate has changed beyond repair. The latest UN report is as alarming as it gets. Global food grain production is estimated to slump by over 30 per cent. There were reports of how the developed countries will spend billions of dollars to combat the adverse effects of global warming. But the developing nations will bear the brunt as they don'thave the resources or the technology to check and deal with global warming. The UN has estimated that over 132 million people will starve to death as prices of food grains and pulses would skyrocket. And if the response of the governments to deal with disasters in India is anything to go by, one can rest assure that millions who die will have no recourse to any state assistance to deal with massive and unprecedented famine.
The moral of the story is that development and progress of a country as huge as India and China have to be sustainable. Even today few people outside the ambit of environmental activism understand the gravity of global warming and polar ice melting. It is not just about sea levels increasing and submerging huge tracts of land but also about agriculture failing, slump in marine production, drought and famine, diseases, misery and death for most of mankind. There are even reports that only 500 million people will survive the devastation wrought by global warming. It does not take much to guess as to which countries will finally survive.