Monday, Dec 04, 2023 09:30 [IST]

Last Update: Monday, Dec 04, 2023 03:57 [IST]


Dr. BHASKAR CHAKRABORTY Associate Professor & Head Department of Chemistry Nar Bahadur Bhandari Go

It's already December. Though the hills of the Himalayan ranges are experiencing cold climates (winter) but the foothills are yet to receive the feeling of it! If we go back to 5 years the situation was not like that and if it was in late 90's we had sweet experiences of winter climates in late November even in foothills of Himalayas! The question is why?

Recent study says:

Burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests and farming livestock are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth's temperature. This adds enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming. The main driver of climate change is the "Greenhouse effect". Some gases in the Earth's atmosphere act a bit like the glass in a greenhouse, trapping the sun's heat and stopping it from leaking back into space and causing global warming.

Trees help to regulate the climate by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. When they are cut down, that beneficial effect is lost and the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse effect.

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Many of these greenhouse gases occur naturally, but human activities are increasing the concentrations of some of them in the atmosphere.

CO2 produced by human activities is the largest contributor to global warming. By 2020, its concentration in the atmosphere had risen to 48% above its pre-industrial level (before 1750).

Other greenhouse gases are emitted by human activities in smaller quantities. Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, but has a shorter atmospheric lifetime. Nitrous oxide, like CO2, is a long-lived greenhouse gas that accumulates in the atmosphere over decades to centuries. Non-greenhouse gas pollutants, including aerosols like soot, have non-greenhouse gas pollutants, including aerosols like soot, have different warming and cooling effects and are also associated with other issues such as poor air quality.

Natural causes, such as changes in solar radiation or volcanic activity are estimated to have contributed less than plus or minus 0.1°C to total warming between 1890 and 2010.

What will happen in near future if we don't take appropriate steps now?

We would experience, for example, an alarming rise in sea level, exposing 69 million people to disasters like flooding in coastal areas. The biodiversity loss we would suffer through an increase of 1.5°C would be catastrophic, but if the rise were to be in the order of 2°C, the problem would be completely irreversible due to the disappearance of plant, animal and insect species, including the death of practically all coral reefs.

Many of our planet’s ecosystems are at risk of radical changes which will kill off their natural biomes. With an increase in the global temperature of the planet of 2°C, some 13% of land, from tundra to forests, would suffer these changes, signifying irrevocable imbalances in their flora and fauna. If the increase is in the order of 1.5°C, the reduction of land area would be down to 4%.

Also, the higher the temperature, the bigger the impact on the Arctic permafrost, 35% to 47% of which would melt with a rise of 2 °C, down to 21% if the rise in the global temperature we suffer is 1.5 °C.

To try to keep global warming to 1.5 °C in the long term, the world will have to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030, with respect to 2010, and reach zero net emissions (carbon neutrality) by 2050. To do so, net annual emissions must be reduced to at least half of today’s, i.e. a cut from 52 Gt to 25 Gt per year. The role of renewable energies will be fundamental in achieving this, and in 2050 they will have to supply 70-85% of all our energy needs.

Radical measures are also needed to replace fossil fuels in transport and improve food production and avoid waste.

Despite this sombre panorama, experts remain optimistic: the world does have at its disposal the scientific understanding, technological capacity and financial means to tackle climate change.

Let us join hand together and fight against the causes which are creating "Global warming" with the awareness and scientific temperament to our common people and other common measures so that our future generations and this beautiful earth may breathe fresh air comfortably!

(Courtesy: World Resources Institute, The New Climate Economy)


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi