This painting is called ’The garden Of Earthly Delights’. It was painted in 16th century by Hieronymus Bosch. The left most panel is god making Adam and Eve. There are birds and animals enjoying the magnificence of planet Earth. Everything is beautiful; everything is perfect! The middle panel is overpopulation. Humans mistreating animals, taking over, and trying to have everything (this part of the painting is called ‘Before the Flood’). The last panel is called ‘After the Flood’. Humans allowed the planet to die, the beauty is dead, the happiness is dead, nothing is left to enjoy. When Bosch painted this picture, he knew this would eventually happen. But I am sure he didn’t think it would happen as early as now!
The thing about me is that, I do not believe things until I see them with my very own eyes. One year ago, I did not believe in climate change. My very first blog was about global warming where I said, and I quote, “It is not happening”. My argument was simple, planet Earth’s temperature rises and decreases by 1 or 2 degrees, and it is one hundred percent normal. But the problem is that I was gullible enough back then to only study one side of the situation. I never researched why the global temperatures increased back then and why they are increasing right now! I never researched, in what time period did a degree temperature rise and how fast it is rising now. Today I am writing this blog as a believer, a terrified believer because the scariest thing about climate change is that the more I know, the more scared I am!
News and politicians say satellite data shows no significant global temperature rising. The thing about politicians and news is that they play with words and we believe them. Why should we believe a scientist who came out of nowhere and not a news channel? It is only now that I understand that the news cares about their sponsors first, then the ratings, and THEN the truth.
As far as politicians are concerned, here are a few facts. James Inhofe – chair of environment committee – gets $1,837,427 of fossil fuel money, Mary Landrieu gets $1,764,867, Paul Ryan gets $1,077,334, John Cornyn gets $2,979,856, Ted Cruz gets $2,286,673, Mitch McConnell gets $1,914,220 and ALL of them strongly deny climate change! They say things like – “are you willing to put at stake all the industries we have built along with the spirit of America because the global temperature has risen by half a percent or a milli percent?” Out of the 131 climate deniers in Congress, MOST are fuel funded! 38 deniers in the senate, ALL directly or indirectly fuel funded!
On the other hand there are scientists who have devoted their entire lives to this issue. They have proof, satellite data, years of research, graphs. But the general truth as of today is, money is the only thing that counts and everything else is abstract.
Michael Mann, a climate professor who has dedicated his entire life to climate change posted this graph. He got death threats; his family was threatened, while all he did was prove that we are causing the global climate change!
In 1950, the first documentary on climate change was made to make people aware of their actions. If in 1950, a small step would have been made, everything would have been different today. The world population just 50 years ago was 2 billion and today, 50 years later, it is 7.2 billion!
We have known about this problem from decades and decades. People have known about solar energy from decades. It is a fact that the sun gives us 1000 times the energy we use in a year, in a single day! But, big fossil fuel companies like Koch have bought lobbyists and media and have made a debate out of this issue! People still do not know if climate change is real, because who should they believe, Hollywood actors like Leonardo DiCaprio or the news channels?
In China, people wear masks to hide from deadly gases. To fight this issue, 9000 of the biggest factories have to give hourly data to the people about the gases released. If they abuse the govt. set limit, people can push for rights. Why can’t all countries take steps like China did? China has the world’s largest wind and solar companies too, and their goal now is to priorities wind and solar energy instead of coal. China is still heavily dependent on natural resources but is transitioning faster than anyone would have ever imagined.
India is the world’s third largest emitter, but there are still massive power outages and the biggest challenge is, that people do not have access to energy! 700 million household in India cook using biomass, 700 MILLION! That is TWICE the entire population of United States of America which is one of the world’s most populated countries! This year in 2016, there were many cities in India who received half the year’s rainfall in 5 hours! The suicide rate of farmers in India is a proof, and the reason they commit suicide is not because they cannot afford to pay rent anymore or repay loans, but because of the very reason that they cannot earn money; because, every year, the climate becomes more and more unpredictable.
As far as USA is concerned, one American uses 10 times the energy one Chinese uses, 36 times the energy an Indian uses and 61 times the energy a Nigerian uses. You will survive climate change, I will survive climate change, the rich will survive the first hit of climate change, but it is the poor who will not.
But, temperature rise affects a lot more than sea levels and climate.
1 BILLION people depend on fish for their protein. Nothing else, only and only FISH! 50% coral reefs are gone in the last 30 years. 50% of all corals have been lost! You would not find a single living, swimming thing there. This is because oceans absorb about a third of CO2. They are a stabilising force in the climate. But the oceans can’t do its job fast enough due to the absurd amount of CO2 being released.
One fact that most of us do not know is that all factories in the world combined, produce no smoke as compared to a rainforest fire. Trees store carbon dioxide in their leaves and trunk. When an entire rainforest is set on fire, it acts as a carbon bomb. The gases released by a volcano are negligible as compared to this. There are only 3 major rainforests left in the entire world. Only THREE. The first one is obviously Amazon; the other major forest is in Indonesia. But, big companies are setting hundreds of acres on fire every single day and are converting it into palm oil plantations. Indonesia is now the most corrupt country on this planet. Last year, during the wildfire in Indonesia, the gases produced daily were more than what the entire US economy produces in a year!
In USA almost 47% land is used for agriculture and 70% of it is used to grow food for cattle. Cows eat as much as they can and when they open their mouth a huge amount of methane is released into the atmosphere. One molecule of methane does as much damage as 23 molecules of CO2.
A half lb beef burger does as much damage to the environment as running a car for 42 miles. Chicken requires a very, very, very small fraction of land compared to beef but so MANY animal rights are violated there, that it deserves an ENTIRE blog of its own! If a regular beef eater switches to chicken, the person will reduce his impact on the world by 80%!
The Gigafactory by Elon Musk is the first step towards a better future. He sees solar panels as transition to landline phones to cellular phones. He wants remote places to get rid of wires. This means the countries that never got the high tension wires can go straight towards cheap solar panels. But here is this exciting fact. The fact that shook me to the core. ONE HUNDRED GIGAFACTORIES ARE ENOUGH TO MAKE RENEWABLE SOLAR ENERGY THE ONLY SOURCE OF ENERGY PRODUCTION FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD! Tesla, Elon Musk’s car company, can make 100 giga factories one day; but what Elon Musk wants to know is that will companies bigger than Tesla ever help?
Once the world transitions to solar, the problem is mostly over. But will we ever be able to make 100 Gigafactories in time? It might take decades to make only 10 if Tesla does it alone, without any government support. It is a fact that global temperature change will cause damage worth hundreds of trillions of dollars while a 100 Gigafactories will cost 100 billion dollars. India has a forex of 380 billion dollars; it can easily get 100 Gigafactories for 100 billion dollars, while it only needs 5.
The solution to reducing the speed of global climate change is Carbon tax. The more the price of a commodity, the less its consumption. By 2060, climate change will cost taxpayers 44 trillion USD. But, why would republicans agree to this right? Well one solution is a paradigm tax shift, so you reduce the payroll tax and make up for it by increasing the carbon tax. In fact, the system of Carbon tax was introduced by a republican who is now an economics professor at Harvard. So imagine how many people would prefer a diesel car if the carbon tax on it is 1000 dollars every year plus 50 cents per kilometre as compared to an electric car which will have no tax. But given the current political situation, politicians still claim climate change is not real. So will carbon tax ever be a reality?
Well, president Obama once was against gay marriage but when the public wanted gay marriage, he also wanted gay marriage. Basically when people want something, so do politicians. It is very important for people to know about climate change. Once that happens everyone will follow the same dream, which is to survive, with every animal and plant alive.
But what should people understand? I believe the answer is – the truth. So right now the world is 1.5 degrees hotter than it should be. Let me tell you step by step what happens at each degree increase and what will happen when the world becomes hotter. At 1 degree increase in the normal temperature, there’ll storms and hurricanes, like hurricane Matthew. At 2 degrees, all coral reefs will die. At 3-4 degrees, heat waves will make many places dead and inhabitable. Agriculture will collapse around the equator at 4 and we will be unable to feed most of the planet. 4 degree is also called the tipping point; at this point earth takes over, and becomes hotter by itself. The best example is Greenland. 10 years ago, Greenland was white because of pure snow. But now ice is turning brown and it has significantly reduced the reflection of sunlight. As the ice melts, the methane stuck as bubbles in ice is released and the planet becomes even hotter than it is right now. But problems will become so drastic at 5, 6, 7 and 8 degree increase, that food is the last thing you will think about. Forests will catch fire by themselves, all coastal cities will drown, all islands will disappear, all Antarctic species will go extinct, and water scarcity will cause countries to get into wars.
It is a fact that Arctic will disappear by 2040 even though the global temperature has just risen by 1.5 degree Celsius.
Politicians like Donald Trump say we need global warming, it is freezing. There is a big misconception about climate change; people think everything will get hotter. But the truth is climate change causes places to cool up. New York will be so cold that life will not be possible there. Solar panels would be useless due to the clouds there, all water would freeze. I have no idea how bad things would get if a person who has no idea what climate change is, takes office.
The climate summit in Paris was a major chance for a paradigm shift. USA and China both had already agreed that they were producing copious amounts of greenhouse gases and it had to change. We all knew technology is a solution, because you wake up in Germany and see 2 million Germans are giving power to the grid by their very own solar panels, you wake up in Denmark, and 100% of the energy comes from wind. These countries now have free energy forever. Sweden’s prime minister announced that Sweden is going to be the world’s first fossil fuel free nation ever. But, you know what happened? The agreement was just like a nursery poem; everyone likes it but its utter nonsense. In the final agreement all the countries promised that they would do everything in their power to control climate change, but there was absolutely no sort of penalty or mention of carbon tax in the ENTIRE document!
Do we really think that countries are going to prioritise climate change ahead of war or ahead of poverty? Do we think a person would think about walking instead of taking an Uber because he is worried about the climate, do we think that people will do everything in their power to save their 5th or 10th generation?
I am a non believer. I don’t believe in god, I believe what I see and I believe in facts. Maybe I am gullible, but when I see with my own eyes, tens of thousands of acres of forest cleared, oil filled sand left behind, which can never grow anything again and can’t support the life of an insect, when I see people in Miami spending 400 million dollars to raise roads because of flooding roads on a moderately sunny day, when I see Florida banning the phrase climate change, when I see 6 months rainfall in 5 hours, when I see people not caring, I believe that planet Earth isn’t going anywhere, we are.
(Edited by Kaveri Deshpande)