The article is divided into 8 (small) parts.
1. What are Green House Gases (GHG)
2. What is Green house effect
3. Carbon Sinks
4. Connection of GHG to climate change
5. Impact of Climate Change
6. Kyoto Protocol
8. Coming disaster in Bangladesh
Green House Gases
Green House Gases (GHG) are essentially made up of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitric Oxides (NOx) and Fluorocarabons, in the following proportion:
Since carbon di-oxide is the main component of GHG, let us concentrate on reducing this (FCs are dangerous too – but let us not make this article complicated).
What is Green house effect?
The sun’s rays hits the surface of the earth and is bounced back into the atmosphere. The Earth reflects about 30% of the incoming solar radiation. The remaining 70% is absorbed, warming the land, atmosphere and ocean.
Simply put, GHG which covers the exo-atmosphere of earth, helps retain some of the rays of the sun that is bounced back from the surface of the earth, thus keeping the earth warm. The more the concentration of GHG, the more its ability to lock heat, thus heating up the earth’s temperature. Without the GHG cover, the earth’s average temperature could be as low as −18 °C (−0.4 °F). Hence GHG is a good thing – but having too much of it is also dangerous for earth.
We emit CO2 in atmosphere when we burn fossil fuel by driving cars, using electricity, burning coal, run inefficient factories etc. As economies grow, so does its capacity in releasing CO2 in the atmosphere.
There were natural carbon sinks that used to absorb the excess CO2. However the capacity of absorption has come down.
Natural Carbon Sinks:
The main natural carbon sinks are plants, the ocean and soil. Plants grab carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to use in photosynthesis; some of this carbon is transferred to soil as plants die and decompose. The oceans are a major carbon storage system for carbon dioxide (as much as 33%). Marine animals also take up the gas for photosynthesis, while some carbon dioxide simply dissolves in the seawater.
Combined, the Earth’s land and ocean sinks absorb about half of all carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. But these sinks, critical in the effort to soak up some of our greenhouse gas emissions, may be stopping up, thanks to deforestation (eg. Amazon jungle), and human-induced weather changes that are causing the oceanic carbon dioxide “sponge” to weaken.
About half of the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from human activities are absorbed by natural "sinks" on land and the oceans but the new study shows that the efficiency of these sinks has fallen significantly over the past half century. Fifty years ago, for every tonne of CO2 emitted, 600kg were removed by natural sinks. In 2006, only 550kg were removed per tonne and that amount is falling. The study also found that the amount of CO2 released into the air from human activities has accelerated in recent years not just because of the growth of the global economy but because, for the first time in a century, the efficiency with which fossil fuels are used has stagnated.
Linking GHG to Climate Change: (Stern Review)
Atmospheric concentration of GHGs are already at 430 ppm (parts per million), compared to 280 ppm before the Industrial revolution, and are slated to reach 550 ppm by 2050 at current emission levels. With accelerating emissions (very likely scenario), 550 ppm will be reached by 2035 bringing in a 77% chance of exceeding 2 degree average temperature rise. This is the maximum, scientists believe we can reach before dangerous climate change impact kicks in.
Earlier we have stated, how higher the concentration of GHG, higher is the “heat trapping” ability – with the consequence of heating up the earth – known as global warming or climate change.
Average temp rise as calibrated by scientists:
Impact of Climate Change:
A temperature rise of only 3 – 4 degrees (celcius) include the following:
- Entire regions experiencing major declines in crop yields
- Sea level rise (polar ice melt due to rise in temperature) threatening whole of Bangladesh, London, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo, Cairo etc
- Collapse of Amazon rain forest
- Collapse of Gulf Stream and irreversible climate feedbacks eg – methane release
- Collapse of all the world’s major glaciers and major flood risks
- Loss of 40% of world’s species
- Major health epidemics
- Losing at least 5% global GDP each year, now and forever.
The treaty is intended to achieve "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." The Kyoto Protocol establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) produced by "Annex I" (industrialized) nations, as well as general commitments for all member countries. As of 2008, 183 parties have ratified the protocol.
However the biggest emitters are not legally binded to reduce GHG (USA - yet to join, China and India exempted as they are developing nations). This is the treaty's MAJOR drawback. Most nations have not been able to curb their emissions and it will be prudent to think that while this is a step forward, this may not work.
Between 1998 and 2007, India has lost more people due to extreme weather events caused by climate change than any other country, with an average of 4,532 people killed every year, a well-known German NGO has calculated.
The monetary losses were an average of $12 bn a year in terms of purchasing power parity, representing 0.62 percent of India's GDP.
Stern warned that temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees – well the news is that the effect of climate change on India could be far worse than previously estimated.
Latest projections indicate that after 2050, temperatures would rise by 3-4 degrees over current levels. Given the dire warnings, this will have cataclysmic effect on INDIA. However, the country to suffer more will be our immediate neighbour – BANGLADESH.
Bangladesh is a low-lying country with three of the greatest rivers of the world - the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. It is one of the world's most densely populated countries, with its people living in very crowded conditions in a delta of rivers that empty into the Bay of Bengal. Poverty is widespread; almost half of the population live on less than one dollar a day, and are landless.
The population of Bangladesh which was 30 million in 1947, is 157 million today.
The climate scientist predict Bangladesh will be wiped out as a nation due to flooding as a consequence of global warming, due to increase in sea level rise. Polar Ice Caps will melt exacerbating this issue. Look at the picture below:
POLAR ICE CAP MELT
The danger to Bangladesh (and yes to parts of Bengal too - certainly KOLKATA)
BANGLADESH - IN GRAVE DANGER
Look at the consequent rise in sea levels given below.
Climate change is likely to heavily hit Bangladesh by breaking down agricultural systems, which would seriously affect Bangladesh, leaving large sections of people facing malnutrition, worsening freshwater scarcity, increasing risks of fatal diseases, and triggering mass displacement due to recurring severe floods and storms like the recent Cyclone Sidr.
With sea levels rising and rivers swelling in the coming decades, vast areas of the country would disappear, sparking an exodus of climate refugees. The terrible question is, where will they go?...
THEY WILL COME TO INDIA.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO INDIA IF THIS REFUGEE MIGRATION OCCURS – THIS WILL BE A HUMANITRIAN DISASTER AND HOW CAN INDIA STOP THIS FLOW?
As it is, Assam's demographic profile has changed, Bengal is getting infiltrated massively. All these present a "vote bank", but more than that, Muslims today have a say in over 200 seats. And I am not talking about domiciled Indian Muslims only who have the right to exercise their franchise - I am talking about the vast number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh that have been given voters ID card by Congress Party in Assam and by CPI (M) in Bengal who have together brought about this situation in India today (facts acknowledged by papers).
Imagine if they could influence over 350 seats, this nation will be under Muslim rule. The day is not far when these Muslims (illegal migrants + locals) will float a Jamaat party pan India and fight elections and get a majority. What then?
To both Congress Party and CPI (M) : When you brought in illegal migrants and gave them voters ID card to win elections - did you not realize the dangers they pose to the country. And in over 50 - 60 years they will be such large numbers that they can and will float a Jamaat like political party (see this happening in different states already) - which will have pan India character. Your grand children will not forgive you for the sins of today and neither will INDIA.
Read an equally important article : 900% of Islamic growth in India's neighbourhood and its consequences.
But who will care for all this in face of an impending humanitarian disaster?
Of course the Bangladeshis need to survive too. But what India can do or should do today … next blog. Please give your ideas too !
As MAX commented - what is happening to fencing? Well, here's what the fencing looks like in most of the stretch.
Hardly any resistance to any infiltrators. I have been to Agartala recently and Bangladeshis openly cross over during the day, ply their hand held carts / rickshaws, earn daily wage and by evening cross back into Bangladesh. All this very openly and in connivance with the BSF. In fact, the open smuggling across the border has both BSF (India) and BDR (Bangladesh) connivance. Home Minister Chidambaram said that India needs to speed up on border fencing. Hon'ble Home Minister, with such blatant violations, what is the point of having these flimsy fencing?
What is needed is "Great Wall of INDIA".
This is far too important a topic I feel.