With the chill descending brutally on the United States and Canada, and parts of Britain walloped by floods, the glare has once again fallen on climate change. Advocates fighting forces that lead to harming the environment are out to point the finger at the irresponsible exploitation of natural resources, rising carbon footprint and a selfish use of bountiful nature by countries trying to outsmart rivals in a bid to get stronger economically and strategically.
Climate talks draw the attention of the world to the countervailing influence of indiscriminate use of natural resources. Unscientific mining and quarrying, digging for oil and gas in uncharted regions, indiscriminate logging and forest clearing, burning of fossil fuels, and use of non-biodegradable material is leading to irreparable loss to nature.
A research based on data from 48 countries had said that the past decade was the warmest on record and the past 50 years have been getting hotter. Close to the end of last year, a number of floods hit Asian nations like India and Philippines, which proved to be the worst sufferer. Tacloban in the island country became a marquee of devastation and misery and the region is yet to fully recover from the havoc wreaked by the storm.
The winter weather in the US has surprised even long-time residents of the eastern and Midwest states. Cars buried under the snow, people falling on sidewalks rendered slippery because of ice rain, an Alzheimer’s patient freezing to death on getting lost are some examples of the misery snow and rain have wreaked on the country around New Year. The US saw the cancellation of more than 3,000 flights yesterday due to adverse weather. Schools have been closed in many states. The death toll reached 16.
The cold is being blamed on a vortex descending from the Arctic. Large swathes of south-western United Kingdom have been inundated after heavy rainfall. Wales has been the worst affected. Climate change talks, which are held periodically, draw global headlines until they wrap up. The host city becomes famous overnight and acquires an aura of environmental activism. Among the pledges and vows undertaken at such negotiations, the real purpose is somewhere lost. Recession in many industrialised countries has forced governments to reassess the cost of cutting carbon emissions. Experts point out that a concerted effort is needed to set a firm agenda for fighting the scourge of climate change. International conferences on carbon emissions and greenhouse gases continue to parade inanities that hardly work to meet the goals set by international green groups. Nations, especially the developed ones, have a collective responsibility to give back to the earth more than they have extracted from it. At the same time, developing nations need to make their own contribution to making the world a healthier and safer place to liver in. In both cases, what cannot be forgotten by countries is the spirit of sacrifice and a never-say-die attitude•