Do something, earth is getting warm

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“Anything else youre interested in is not going to happen if you cant breathe the air and drink water dont sit this one out, do something”……(Carl Sagan).


Few days back global warming was considered as just the topic for science conference but with the changing environment and its effects it seem like worst nightmare is becoming true. From the last few years we have seen significant changes in our environment and rain pattern. Floods are increasing and we are facing the outcomes of deforestation and pollution. In Pakistan, from the last five years we have seen approximately four major floods which caused the loss of billions to our economy. These are the effects of increasing deforestation and pollution.


Mountain regions are more sensitive to climate change than their rugged topography might suggest. A study by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) reveals that the temperature in the Himalayan region has risen by almost 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1970s. This shift in climate causes meltdown of snowfalls and glaciers – at the fastest rate in the world (50 feet/15 m per year in northern India) – even in winter, causing icy water to accumulate in lakes hedged by unstable dams of sediment and stone. As the lakes swell, the dams often burst, sending muddy streams down the narrow valleys.


In addition to life and property – including bridges, hydro-electric plants and tourist facilities – the flood, laden with massive boulders and sediment, also devastates agricultural lands and irrigation systems in the valleys below. Experts warn that unless urgent action is taken, the frequency of these accidents will increase dramatically in five to ten years time, with catastrophic consequences for people and property in this part of the Himalayas.


UNEP scientists have surveyed more than 4,000 glaciers and concluded that 20 glacial lakes in the Bhutanese Himalayas and 24 glacial lakes in Nepal pose a potential hazard. They warn that a number of lakes are still unexplored, especially in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (where most of the Himalayas lie). In order to make a comprehensive report, UNEP-ICIMODs (United Nations Environment Programme – International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development) study will expand to all South Asian countries, including China, as well neighboring countries in central Asia.


Although some people believe the worldwide rise in temperature to be a naturally occurring climate variation, a growing number of scientists concur that it is an outcome of raised levels of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide and methane, in the atmosphere. As the earths surface absorbs the suns rays, the heat bounces back, and a part of it ultimately escapes into space. On its way through the atmosphere the heat is absorbed by carbon dioxide and methane molecules; this process raises the temperature on the earths surface.


The more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the more heat is entrapped. This phenomenon is called the “greenhouse effect,” named for the way the glass panes of a greenhouse capture heat and warm the space inside.


The increasing amount of greenhouse gases is a result of the industrial nations incremental use of fossil fuels over the past two centuries. During the industrial revolution, in the mid 19th century, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 265 ppm (particles per million). Today, that level is 340 ppm. If the situation goes unchecked, scientists warn, the level could reach 600 ppm by 2050. As a result, average global temperatures are expected to rise 1.4 – 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century.


Pakistans part in terms of total emissions of gases is about 0.8 %. Pakistan is at 135th position in list of international polluters but is ranked 4th most affected country worldwide. Pakistan is not responsible for global warming; rather we are victim of it. Pakistan is facing challenges of food security, glacier melting, droughts, water scarcity and sea level rising and we are facing loss of about 400 billion annually from last twenty years due to climate change.


We should have to take adaptation measures to lessen the impacts of climate change. The only way to prevent this relentless warming would be to limit deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels, as well as to begin employing environmentally sound sources of energy. If we ignore these issues just like in past, then the future of our generation will be at stake.


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Published in: Volume 07 Issue 10

Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=15374