Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Who is responsible for Bombay and New Orleans?

Now there is damning evidence why hurricanes (New Orleans) and floods (Bombay) happen.

An about.com article states, "Global warming began in the 20th century with the modern industrial age. 21st century continuation of this warming trend will result in melting glaciers and arctic ice sheets, which will cause rising sea-levels to inundate coastal areas. Cities as London, Shanghai, Bombay and New York can expect major flooding. Global warming also changes weather patterns, increased risks of droughts and hurricanes, and many health problems. The arctic ice sheet has shrunk 20% since 1979."

The Kyoto Protocol set binding targets for countries to reduce greenhouse gases emission within seven years to five per cent below 1990 levels. If enacted countries would have had to cut down on emission and used more renewable sources of energy like solar and other forms.

The US which contributes 25 per cent to greenhouse gas emission had initially agreed to sign the Kyoto Protocol. But later George Bush refused to sign it stating that it would cause major unemployment in the US. To quote the above article, "Lately, the White House has even questioned the validity of the science behind global warming, and claims that millions of jobs will be lost if the US joins in this world pact."

Though India has signed the Protocol the power that drives governance in Delhi, "maintains that the major responsibility of curbing emission rests with the developed countries, which have accumulated emissions over a long period of time," as reported in Wikipedia. Therefore it is exempt from the framework of the treaty.

So who is responsible for Hurricane Katrina and the Bombay Deluge? Without the support of the US the Kyoto Protocol is as good as dead. And if India continues to play truant expect more deluges like the ones we recently had in Bombay.

Why am I going on and on about the Kyoto Protocol?

This is one chance in a lifetime of humanity to clean up the environment that has fed and nurtured it and its forebearers. If this opportunity is lost then there is no looking back. Make sure you live on a hill (then you aren't protected from landslides), stock your house with provisions for a month (still you don't know when the deluge will end), and buy a boat to get you to safety when the rains don't stop!

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