UN Climate Report

UN appointed panel has warned of the far-reaching effects of climate change if no immediate measures are taken to remedy the damage already done. The world, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released Monday, will cross the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming mark in the 2030s, earlier than some past predictions. The report said that human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years. Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities alone are responsible for approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming since 1850-1900 and the temperatures could continue to rise until 1950. The report says that the past decade was most likely hotter than any period in the last 1,25,000 years when sea levels were as much as 10 meters higher.
The report should be a cause of alarm for the world. There is an urgent need for the world to come together.  and take remedial measures to pre-empt  the catastrophe. In Kashmir too, the climate change has led to considerable changes in weather patterns. Triggering alarm bells is the slowly shrinking Kolahai glacier, the biggest in Valley, which is the source of Lidder and Sindh, two major streams of river Jehlum.
The area of Kolahai has retreated 13.87 square kilometers to 11.24 sq kms from 1976. The situation is no different with other glaciers. An Action Aid Report in 2009 said there has been an overall 21 per cent reduction in the glacier surface area in the Chenab basin. Many of the areas have seen a complete disappearance of small glaciers in parts of eastern Srinagar and Pirpanjal mountain range in district Pulwama. In other areas, like Budgam, the height of the small glaciers has reduced to over one-fourth of the original height.
If the recession of the Himalayan glaciers goes on at this rate, the discharge in the former state’s rivers would substantially go down, leading to a catastrophic situation, not least because it will severely impact Pakistan too.
Though we can do nothing about the larger, global scale changes in the climate, we certainly need to address the local man made causes that reinforce their impact on us. To start with, we need to undertake an honest study through a professional consultancy on how the climate change is going to affect us in the long term. And what actions we should take to cushion its impact. This will go a long way to goad the government to institute necessary policy changes and a plan of action that takes a  better care of our environment.

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