The volatile situation sweeping across nations because of the devastating effect of storms, tsunamis, floods and other catastrophes is predominantly a consequence of the rising sea levels – a direct impact of global warming. The last few years have seen the consequences of global warming like perhaps never before. More than 110 people were killed in the US alone by Sandy, apart from 67 casualties in the Caribbean and 2 in Canada. In Philippines, the biggest and the deadliest typhoon, Bopha, killed at least 540 people, injuring another 1100. Topping the misery chart in recent times is Japan’s tsunami, which claimed a jaw dropping 15,700 lives – a toll that created a shock wave not only in Japan, but also across the world. All these calamities, and – as the scientists claim – many more that are queuing up against the backdrop of climate change and global warming, are posing an impending danger to human lives. This year itself has begun with a scary chill across the world with temperatures falling to new lows, pollution smogs hitting new highs, and examples like Delhi, where the shivers of winter were felt like never before in the past half a century almost!
Given the fragility of human civilization, this rapidly changing climate and deteriorating ecosystem has induced fear and panic among mankind across the globe. Yes, there is no clear evidence that can pinpoint that global warming would be the reason for the end of the world; but then, there is no denial to the fact that human activities have made life worse in many parts of the world. Increasing pollution and use of toxic products have endowed diseases (both new and old) with an environment to incubate and flourish. The fear and panic has also gifted developed nations a reason to meet every year and make policies that seem pro-environment but in reality are pro-rich countries and anti-poor nations!
One such global event that is organized under the pretext of addressing global warming is the UN Climate Change Conference. The latest conference, better known as COP 18 (Conference of Parties; session 18), which concluded in Doha last month is a case in point. Nothing can be more paradoxical than the COP 18 gathering, at a time when we really need fast and serious action. A summit on protecting the environment was held in a city (and a country) that in all probability is the largest contributor to global warming. Surprisingly, no renewable sources of energy are used in Doha, which has a per capita annual carbon emission of 50 tonnes that is three times that of US, eight times that of China and 33 times that of India! Moreover, this so-called Climate Change Conference, year after year, witnesses delegates flying down in their fuel-guzzling private jets from all corners of the world, parades of motorcycles plying through the streets for security checks, water supplied from state-of-the-art power consuming desalination plants (in a country where water is the most scarce resource), exotic food items being mobilized from various regions and delegates commuting in sedans and SUVs that guzzle tonnes of fossil fuel. For around 17,000 delegates for the last conference, more than 21,000 rooms at 87 hotels and residences were blocked, which additionally wasted monumental energy while providing the most luxurious service. The amount of environment destruction can be gauged by the fact that a similar conference back in 2009 released around 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent!