From the Viewsroom

Disastrous rise of climate sceptics

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 29, 2016


Despite the receding glaciers and rising human costs

The view of Mount Kilimanjaro from the aircraft was breathtaking. But what got etched in our minds was that the majestic mountain did not have that glorious crush of ice crowning it. The ice crown is clearly receding, and while experts may debate its cause it starkly represents the real threat of climate change. Such evidence is mounting.

Last month, the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed that 2016 could be the hottest year on record with global temperatures even higher than the record-breaking levels in 2015. Temperatures this year were about 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, it said. All over the world, extreme weather occurrences such as flash floods, droughts, heat waves and illnesses point to the impact of climate change. Alongside comes staggering displacement. According to the UNHCR, “In 2015 there were 19.2 million new displacements associated with weather, water, climate and geophysical hazards in 113 countries, more than twice as many as for conflict and violence.” Weather-related hazards alone triggered 14.7 million displacements and while South and East Asia dominated in terms of the highest absolute figures, no part of the world was unaffected, it said. Though equivalent data for 2016 is not yet available, this does not diminish the impact of climate change on all forms of life.

“Extreme weather and climate related events influenced by the strong El Niño in 2015/2016 had significant negative impacts on agriculture and food security. More than 60 million people around the world were affected by these events, according to the FAO,” the WMO said.

Despite such harrowing evidence, tackling climate change becomes a daunting task when climate sceptics take centre-stage, such as Donald Trump. It casts a worrisome shadow on the landmark international agreement formalised in Paris. The ‘inconvenient truth’ for 2017 is whether governments across the world will push for environmentally sustainable policies. Do we need more evidence after disappearing water bodies or receding glaciers?

Deputy Editor

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Published on December 29, 2016
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