Apocalyptic Climate Change Is Here But Who Cares
The biggest threat staring at the face of humanity since the end of World War II is climate change. Yet, we live utterly oblivious of this impending catastrophe exhibiting an ostrich attitude. Political leaders think of fanciful explanations to wriggle their way out of confronting this imminent danger.
One reason for this attitude is because they would be the least affected by it as they belong to a privileged class with access to all the resources. In case of an emergency, they are assured of being treated as the first among equals. The rest of the population unfortunately does not enjoy such privileges.
They will have to brace for impact as they will be the ones most severely hit by climate change. They have no other option but to pay for the sins of omission and commission of their political masters. Hence, there is no room for complacency in this regard. We have to catch the bull by the horn. Climate change is the biggest security threat of the future.
Climate change has transformed into an international security threat. Global warming is the main reason for climate change leading to unseasonal rains, cloudbursts, droughts and flooding. This is happening because global warming is melting our glaciers thereby raising sea levels.
Something similar is happening in Antarctica with catastrophic consequences for the rest of the world. It is called the Thwaites glacier. This block of ice is in Antarctica. It is as high as a six-story building and as big as the American state of Florida. It spans 120 km. This massive block of ice has become an international security threat.
It is called the doomsday glacier. This glacier is falling apart. Climate scientists have witnessed new cracks in the glacier. The ice on the glacier is eroding. Warm waters and increasing temperatures are making the ice melt. This glacier is no longer stable, and it is too late to try and save it
. Scientists predict the Thwaites glacier will shatter in the next three to five years from now. If this happens, sea level is projected to rise by as much as 3 meters. The reason is its size. As a result of melting of the Thwaites glacier, major cities of the world will submerge and disappear.
The Thwaites glacier acts like a cork in the bottle. It protects all the glaciers in Western Antarctica. When this is lost a disaster of epic proportion will unfold and there will be chaos all around.
The whole of western Antarctica would then be vulnerable. Antarctica would disappear. Entire coastlines will be rewritten. Large chunks of territory would disappear in five years, maybe even sooner.
Major cities like Miami will go under water and will be submerged completely. So will southern Bangladesh as well as parts of the Netherlands and New York City. Millions of lives and livelihoods will be destroyed.
Millions will be displaced. There will be mass migration. Social unrest will be rampant across nations directly threatening the stability of nation states. It has the potential to trigger the next wave of global conflicts.
Climate change manifests itself before us in various forms—tornadoes, floods, wildfires and melting polar ice caps. This is the most familiar aspect of climate change. There is one aspect of climate change that the majority of the world is oblivious of and does not acknowledged.
Climate change is triggering conflict. When temperatures go up even by one degree anywhere in the world, interpersonal conflict goes up. Cases of assault and murder rise by 2%. Riots and civil war increased by 11%.
There is a clear scientific link between conflict and climate. But the world leaders are still choosing to ignore this threat because of short-term gains and approach it as another avenue for politics. Either way it is a losing strategy.
The world powers are playing politics over climate doomsday. Russia shot down the UN resolution on climate security threat stating that it would amount to interference in other nation’s internal matters.
Climate politics is preventing people from seeing what is becoming a clear and a present danger. Climate change has become an existential challenge for us.
We can slow down the melting of the ice by bringing global warming under control by drastically cutting emissions. Politics, climate financing, blame game hypocrisy, and summits and meeting have not delivered.
The UN Security Council discussed a resolution treating climate change as a global security threat. Security council must have more powers to deal with this kind of new-age threat.
The Security Council should be empowered to sanction countries for wide use of fossil fuels as well as the right to intervene militarily in conflicts caused by climate change. Most countries backed the idea and endorsed a proposal to this regard.
Three countries did not-Russia, China and India. Russia blocked it, India voted against it and China abstained from voting. Russia’s vote killed the resolution because Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and has veto power. Russia used the veto power to scuttle the resolution.
Moscow has given two reasons for its stand against the resolution. First, such powers would politicize the issue and would empower the western world to intervene in the domestic issues of other countries.
There is another reason which Russia did not say for obvious reasons as it was benefiting from climate change. Global warming is opening up new shipping routes for Russia in the arctic—the northern sea route.
This could dramatically cut travel time between Asia and Europe. Presently, it takes around 25 to 30 days for goods to reach from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg. If the northern route opens up it would take less than 18 days thus drastically cutting down the travel time. But this is possible only if the ice in the arctic melts. There is business opportunity for Russia in the arctic.
This region is a massive trove of petroleum and natural gas. It has deposits of mineral like iron ore, zinc and lead. Even precious metals like gold, diamond and gemstones are presumed to be present in abundance in this region.
All of this is valued at around $35 trillion at present market rate. When so much money is at stake there is almost always a tendency to ignore the environment. But if the world ignores this threat now for the money, it would be a Faustian bargain to make, and the world will pay a heavy price for it.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma