SINCE April, India and Pakistan have suffered extreme spring heatwaves. The unprecedented April temperatures have led to critical water and electricity shortages. North-west and central India experienced the hottest April in 122 years and in Pakistan’s Jacobabad, a city in Sindh province, the temperature hit recently, one of the highest April temperatures ever recorded in the world. In Kashmir too, we had a surprisingly warm March and April, the two months which otherwise used to be drenched in rain and the consequent cold. The unduly warm March, April and May have caused deep concern about the creeping climate change, which is changing the nature of the seasons. Though this should cause alarm, it isn’t. Or at least to the extent where it could matter. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh between them are home to around 1.7 billion people and any disruption in the climate pattern could severely impact them. So, the three countries, as well as other countries in the region need to wake up and work toward a global response to the looming catastrophe.
To be sure, India has supported global action and initiatives to combat climate change. Attending the recent COP26 summit at Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Green Grids Initiative—One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG), the first international network of global interconnected solar power grids, jointly with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson. Addressing a session on clean technology at the summit, PM Modi said 'one sun, one world, one grid' can be crucial to re-establishing the environmental balance.
The COP26, in turn, followed the grim report by an UN-appointed panel that warned of the far-reaching effects of climate change if no immediate measures were taken to remedy the damage already done. The world, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in August last, will cross the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming mark in the 2030s, earlier than some past predictions. The report further 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 revealed 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 caused a global alarm after its release.
There is thus an urgent need for the world to come together and take remedial measures to pre-empt the catastrophe and the COP26 summit did play an important role in this direction. In Kashmir too, climate change has led to considerable changes in weather patterns. Triggering alarm bells is the slowly shrinking glaciers that are the source of the Valley’s water bodies. But the factors causing climate change are global in nature and so any effort to reverse the damage has to be backed by the world. And this should be done sooner than later. The time is running out fast.
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