Tuesday, February 3, 2009

CLIMATE CHANGE : THE COMING DISASTER IN BANGLADESH AND WHAT ARE INDIA'S OPTIONS?

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
7. INDIA
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.


KYOTO PROTOCOL(Treaty):

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.

INDIA:

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:

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.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi BuA,

GHG and its rising levels is indeed a cause for concern for all of us & perhaps its importance far outweighs the focus that we currently have on outwitting our neighbours.

We definitely ought to have an equivalent of Kyoto protocol in place to take measures to contain the GHG emmissions. The awareness campaigns among the masses are not enough.More Research in this field & public education is required.

As regarding increase in Muslim population due to spill over, well..it is probable,but perhaps that can be tackled sometime later.I feel we should first concentrate on finding solutions to contain the Global warming menace. 2-4 degree rise in the temperature in the next 10 yrs is alarming!

SM

Anonymous said...

BuA

Hey, nice post. In depth.
What do you do?

I believe, something big is going to happen with in the next 5 years.
The earth cannot sustain this kinda growth.

I was reading about the "Mayan Calender-2012" stuff.

Riddle:
The rise of Talibanistan
The Power struggle for Central Asian Oil/Gas
Climate Change et all..

There could be something.

Please reseach about this stuff and give your view.

Cheers,
Anish

Anonymous said...

hope all the banglas die

Ray Lightning said...

The rise of sea-levels, though a serious problem, is not the most sinister consequence of global warming. A far more dangerous issue is the melting of glaciers, the drying up of rivers and the food crisis that results from this.

This is the most important facing India in the next 50 years, and our biggest enemy which threatens the very survival of us as a nation.

The water wars are bound to happen within India, we don't need to wait for the incoming of Bangladeshi refugees to disrupt our national fabric.

Here is a detailed report.

Max said...

The first thing that comes to my mind is: what's happening to the Indo-Bangla barrier? Is it still in construction?

TTV INDIA said...

Hi BuA,

Nice stuff. I think the co-relation does carry some substance. Refugees are going to be a problem as usual for us. But one thing that you have ignored (consciously or otherwise) is what would be the impact on India? How is this expected catastrophe going to reshape India's geographical structure? How much land will INdia lose? It is known that Mumbai would be devastated and chances of losing it forever are high, You already mentioned losing Large parts of Kolkatta. Also, expecte3d by the researchers is the total flooding and then exhaustion of the Ganga. How is it going to effect the movements of Population in INDIA itself. I think we need to ponder over the problem we'd face withing first. The refugee problem from Bangladesh though has to be taken seriously, will be entwined/embedded with this problem within and hence be even more difficult to tackle by any govt. in power then. We should start preparations to tackle these problems inside before we focus on the ones expected from outside. The MUMBAI rains still cause equal damage even after 3 years, just one case in point. There'd be many.

Also, as it is said, know your friends well, but know your enemies better. Going by this adage, we'd also need to have knowledge on expected impact on Pakistan (if it survives that long) and China.

My take, India should prepare for such rapid changes starting right now (Whatever it takes) and also identify and maintain a long term policy on Refugees and their status & Rights in India. Status would be a REFUGEE and rights would be none. In fact, India should take a lead in introducing Jizya for non Indian Refugees crossing over to India. (In a lighter vein)

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@SM

We have a Kyoto equivalent and are signatories to it. However since we are not a "developed" nation like China and both of us are heavy emitters of CO2, we do not have legally binding obligations to reduce GHG.

Which is a shame really - however India and China too cannot be faulted. The West emitted more and industrialized and not it is our chance to grow. The West should give us "greener" tech, as we are not going to buy expensive green tech and increase input price and become cost ineffective globally.

On the Muslim issue - we cannot tackle it later. See the state of Assam and Bengal already. By infiltration only, they are on their way to securing a majority. Next step - secession. So, we cannot wait, and will not wait.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@ANISH

Add the economic downfall of US and much of Western world in that equation you have given. 2009 will see over 40 states in US declaring bankruptcy.

And the dollar is going to devalued (massively it seems).

Do you think a financial tiger is just going to go down without a fight or rather creating a fight elsewhere.

So, yes, watch out for fun ....

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@Anon @ Feb 4, 6:50 AM

I do not think it is right to say - Let all the Banglas die.

I really have some very good "secular" Bangladeshi Muslim friends. Very nice and hospitable too. Look at the Grameen Bank - their own workers are getting death threats in rural Bangladesh.

The problem, as elsewhere is not with the normal population, but with the Islamists. And unlike Pakistan, the army in Bangladesh is not radicalised - hence does not pose a "grave" danger.

However, the poor illiterate massive population of Bangladesh does pose a serious "demographic" threat to India for now as well as for future.

They need to settle elsewhere and move to jungles of Burma - but not in India. For that India needs to build THE WALL OF INDIA.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@RAY

Melting of glaciers = rising of sea level. However food scarcity, heavy rainfall, crop failure etc etc and GDP knock downs are a real threat due to global warming.

But who cares? Any politician in India is even bothered about this, you think.

I think NOT. Hence, raise the other bogey, that of massive refugee from Bangladesh, a real threat too, and maybe someone will take notice and do something.

When one does take notice of one issue, the other issues will too get noticed, one hopes.

:)

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@MAX:

Incorporated ur statement into main body copy of the article.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@ TTV,

I have deliberately ignored the impact on India. If I did that, the article would have been too long.

In fact I mentioned that I left it for another time.

Max said...

We're buying so much from Israel, why can't we just pick up from them methods and designs of the Israel-West Bank barrier and Israel–Gaza barrier to be incorporated into our Bengal-Bangla barrier? The picture looks really pathetic, even my 20 year old house fence looks better than that.

Anonymous said...

BuA,

I rephrase my comment.. We need not tackle muslim infiltration later, rather simultaneously if that were possible. But what we certainly cannot afford is, to delay tackling this environmental menace. We need to act now. This should be our top priority.

Ray Lightning said...

A small correction : sea levels rise due to melting polar ice-caps. Melting glaciers will just make riverbeds dry. For example, Ganges will turn dry part of the year (and stop being a perennial river) by the mid-century.

I agree with you that we need to spring people into action. Let's stop talking of politicians. We are all politicians now !

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@RAY

I meant melting of polar ice caps ... sorry.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

Re: MY previous article on CHABAHAR and feeder to NATO, here is an article today on that. Feeling relieved.

THE REPORT:

NATO's top military commander in Afghanistan, General John Craddock, admitted that the alliance would not oppose individual member nations making deals with Iran to supply their forces in Afghanistan. To quote Craddock, a four-star American general who is also NATO's supreme allied commander, "Those would be national decisions. Nations should act in a manner that is consistent with their national interest and with their ability to resupply their forces. I think it is purely up to them."

NATO is keen to use the new highway built by the Indian government from central Afghanistan to the Iranian border at Zaranj, which would allow access to Iran's deep-sea Persian Gulf port at Chabahar. The road is largely unused. The Indians completed work on the highway hardly a fortnight ago.
NATO is scrambling. It must somehow reduce dependence on Pakistani supply routes, which are currently used for ferrying about 80% of supplies. The irony cannot be lost on onlookers. NATO seeks an Iranian route when Tehran is demanding a US troop pullout from Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev dropped a bombshell on Tuesday by demanding the closure of the US military base in Manas, which is used for ferrying supplies for Afghanistan. He said this after talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, during which Moscow pledged to Bishkek that it was writing off $180 million debt and would also provide Kyrgyzstan with a $2 billion soft loan and an outright grant of $150 million.

NATO's envoy to Central Asia, Robert Simmons, rushed to Bishkek in a last-ditch attempt to stall the Kyrgyz move, but only to regret the development and admit that NATO's Afghan operations would be adversely affected. Washington still hopes to salvage the situation, but that involves taking Moscow's help.

Moscow is willing, as always - provided the US is prepared to shelve its untimely geopolitical agenda to broaden and deepen its (and NATO's) strategic presence in Central Asia on the pretext of developing new supply routes for Afghanistan. Plainly put, Moscow feels irritated about Washington's abrasive diplomacy in Central Asia in recent weeks.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said, "We hope that we and the United States will hold special and professional talks on this issue [of transit routes to Afghanistan] in the near future. We will see how effectively we can cooperate ... The US, Central Asia, China - we are all interested in a successful anti-terrorism operation in Afghanistan

Meanwhile, the shadow of US-Russian relations falls on the Hindu Kush. The Russian media reported that a high-level Afghan military delegation is expected in Moscow in the "near future". With a growing possibility that Obama may withdraw support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Moscow will be weighing its options.

WHEW !!

TTV INDIA said...

Carry something on the recent development in Kashmir with Huriyat hit with financial crisis and the UJC Hitting out at Isloo for failing to support them and also LeT and JuD. It would be good to knwo your views on the positive changes up north.

anonymous said...

about 26/11 according to PRASUN KSENGUPTA (trishulgroup.blogspot.com):


While our politicians initially wanted something sensational like that without thinking about the consequences) and had no idea what the end-game would be, like what eventually happened with OP Parakram in 2002, which achievced no decisive results whatsoever, no matter what the NDA coalition govt then claimed. The Chiefs of Staff Committee convinced the PM and the Cabinet Committee on National Security that given the Sectarian divides within Pakistan that was already bleeding the country, any form of offensive Indian military operation, be it limited war or all-out war or even surgical aerial strikes, will only unify all of Pakistan and will prevent the Pakistan Army from bleeding any further in FATA and NWFP. The second thing to be considered was the probable Pakistani response to any Indian surgical air strike in POK, which would have taken the form of Pakistani ballistic missiles being employed against symbolic but significant economic/industrial targets like in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and UP. This would have been something like the SCUDs used as weapons of terror by Iraq against Iran in the 1980s. That's the reason why, after two CCNS meetings with the Chiefs of Staff Committee last December it was decided that the best way to fight the assymmetric war was to respond with assymmetric means, i.e. strangulating the Pakistani economy by only raising the rhetoric and keeping the Pakistan Armed Forces in a heightened state of alert (thereby depleting their war reserve stocks of POL) by staging unannounced war games, resorting to a few symbolic violations of Pakistani airspace, etc. India thus took a calculated risk with such manoeuvres knowing fully well that this time the dire state of the Pakistani economy would not have permitted them to launch any kind of offensive operations against India. As you can now infer, the need of the hour for India is to develop and deploy on a warfooting a credible theatre-wide ballistic missile defence system that will neutralise any kind of ballistic missile-based conventional strike options that Pakistan now enjoys. In addition, a credible cruise missile defence system also needs to be developed. But the fact also remains that the Indian Army's armoured corps, air defence artillery corps and field artillery regiments are indeed suffering from block obsolescence. I sincerely hope that this time Army HQ does not stage yet another round of farcical trials for 155mm.52-cal towed howitzers, but instead converts them into the requirement for motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzers that can be air-transported by IL-76MDs and even C-130J-30 Super Hercules, thereby ensuring rapid deployment across different theatres of operation. For goodness sake, even Myanmar has such motorised howitzers!!!


(c) Prasun K Sengupta February 03, 2009 10:28:00 AM

Anonymous said...

Even the Russians read this article..

Times of India:

MOSCOW: Russia said on Friday that it will start allowing US military supplies for

Afghanistan to cross its territory, while Kyrgyzstan said
it will not reverse its decision to
close a key US air base.

Kyrgyzstan's National Security Council chief appeared to dash any US hopes of securing a last-minute reprieve for the Manas air base. Russia's move is unlikely to make up for the loss of the base, home to air operations like refueling and medical evacuation.

But Russia's opening of routes for non-lethal supplies could provide an important alternative to roads through Pakistan that are increasingly threatened by militant attacks.

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov did not specify if Russia would provide land or air corridors but the US and other NATO have mostly been interested in land routes that would let them to more cheaply move bulky cargo.

By welcoming the transit of US supplies, Lavrov appeared to send a signal to Washington that Russia is ready to help on Afghanistan if the US deals with Moscow when it comes to Central Asia.

Russia last year signed a framework deal with NATO for transit of non-lethal cargo for coalition forces in Afghanistan and has allowed some alliance members, including Germany and Spain to move supplies across its territory.

Akshit Seth said...

Hey, nice post.

But, I personally take a dim view of this Bangladeshi climate change rhetoric. If the country is bound to face apocalypse in the next 50 years or so, and we cannot do anything about it, then why should we Indians be so worried about it.

We won't let them infiltrate our territory. If the population drowns, does it really matter? Bangladeshis are just a bunch of Ehsaan Faramosh terrorists. So, don't forget to grab your packet of Lays when the catastrophe comes to Bangladesh.

Ha! HA!

Anonymous said...

Akshit,

Have you seen the Indo-Bangla fence?

Elephants can walk through, forget humans. And they are coming into India like a one way flood.

How do u intend to stop them dude?

Anonymous said...

It seems CNN IBN will carry a report on Wednesday - 11th Feb at 8 PM to show the "porous" Bangladesh border.

A must watch.

Akshit Seth said...

I have not seen the Indo-Bangla fence myself but I'm afraid that I don't believe the pic provided by BuA. Our borders are not as porous as you chumps think.

The NDA is poised to come to power this time and they will definitely strengthen the permeability of our borders further.

There's no need to be so tense.

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