Climate change and global warming have been hot debating points for the past few months. All over the world countries have seen extremities in weather. Heavy rains,
heatwaves, droughts in rain fed regions, less snowfall in the Alps, shrinking Arctic, receeding glaciers, breakages in polar ice-caps are proof of this freaky weather. Cheerapunji in Assam holds the spot for being the wettest region in the world. Yet last
year, even it witnessed the effects of global warming.
An increased amount of carbon dioxide (CO 2) in the atmosphere enhances the greenhouse effect contributing to global warming. The carbon dioxide levels in
the Pre-industrial era were mainly from respiration by living beings, volcanic eruptions, decomposition and forest fires. But CO2 concentrations increased after the industrial revolution in mid 1800’s when large quantities of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum)
were burnt. Aside from this deforestation, intense animal agriculture (resulting in methane gas) is a part conspirator. Scientists have laid the sole blame on climate changes on humans.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has clearly stated that the effects of global warming will be seen for along time. Although there
is an explanation on how and why the planet is warming, there is nothing mentioned on what to do about it.
Though India’s contribution to air pollution is miniscule as compared to US or China, India has the potential to bring down the scale further by its
vast sources of renewable energy. Sun, wind, water nuclear energy are some of the cleanest .The only drawback is that they are expensive. Hydropower, ,at present, provides 32,326 MW of energy whereas it has the capability of supplying 1,50,000MW. A lot
of delays in the upcoming projects and inadequate transmission have hampered its growth.
Wind, at present, provides 5,300MW with the potential for 45,000 MW. Suzlon Energy is the world’s fifth largest wind turbine manufacturer. Its Dhule wind park
will produce 1000MW once compeleted. Similarly nano technology for photovoltaic cells in solar panels, binary plant technology at hot spring sites can all contribute towards much needed alternate energy. India has the world’s third largest resource of thorium,
which is used for nuclearenergy. Advanced nuclear reactors using thorium can increase nuclear power capacity from 3,360 MW to 50.00 MW.
Besides the above, afforestation and conservation of our natural resources can all help save our environment and in turn save our earth. Otherwise we will all witness extreme temperature
variations like we have seen in the past couple of years. We have flowers blooming in late January as an onset of spring, massive hailstorms in Gurgaon and sudden dip in temperature in February due to massive snowfall in upper Himalayan belt. If this doesn’t
wake us up of our slumber then what will?
(Hailstorm in Gurgaon Winter 2007, Photo: Ashita Thomas)