Our world is changing. Temperatures and sea levels are rising. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is in a state of "irrevocable melt." If we continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate, global surface temperature will increase by 4-6ºC by 2100. At these temperatures, civilization as we know it will collapse.
...is a question I've been asked countless number of times. Like all good environmentalists, I ramble on about changing weather patterns, higher frequency of natural disasters, how we are all doomed, etc. While this makes me Delhi's most boring party guest, these questions got me thinking about the public perception of climate change and its impacts in India. How does the Indian public think about climate change? Do we see it as an immediate threat?
In the past few months, the average carbon dioxide concentration in the global atmosphere has stayed above 400 parts per million. Many of us have learned from school textbooks that nitrogen and oxygen together make up more that 99% of the air that we breathe. All other gases are present in miniscule amounts in comparison. However, these can have a profound effect on our planet and life as we know it.
An overwhelming majority of scientists around the world believes that human-induced climate change is happening. They believe it poses a significant threat to our world, and they are scared. However, it's not the immensity of the threat that scares them—they are afraid that people are not doing enough to combat these changes. Here is a beautiful, moving photoessay that captures scientists' visceral reactions to climate change.
Climate change is playing Russian Roulette with our seasons. Every year, summer in India comes with nervous anticipation—how heavy will the monsoons be? How dry the heat? Despite our best science, these questions are becoming increasingly difficult to answer. But more recently, questions about climate change's indirect implications have taken center stage: most notably, those concerning how the changing climate will impact our nation's health.
Fossil fuel companies use capital from lenders and investors to discover and extract new reserves; however, if the international regulation limits how much coal and gas can be pulled out of the reserves, the investors’ money will not see the returns. At best, the market will see a strong downward correction as oil stocks plummet. At worst, the market will crash in its entirety.