Climate Change and Global Warming - What They Mean for Us

Not so long ago, just 50 years to be exact, my father was posted at Poona, then a small Army cantonment town four hours away from the mind-numbing madness of the big city of Bombay. Poona is now Pune and Bombay has become Mumbai. But those are not the only changes time has wrought. More insidious things have happened.

Poona was at that time designated as a non-fan station by the Indian Army. Although the government was quite happy to give an officer a nice, palatial bungalow to live in, electric fans were not part of the deal. Fans were not required as the climate hovered around a salubrious mid-20s Celsius (75OF) throughout the year.

Fast forward to 2009. The bungalows have been replaced by pokey flats fitted with fans and air conditioners. Gone are the spacious rooms with thick walls and high ceilings. Gone are the open spaces and the huge tamarind trees on whose branches we sat, reveling in the naughty, sweet and sour taste of their produce. In their place we have many more people, many more cars, much more concrete. And need I add, more fans and air conditioners. Summer temperatures routinely cross 40OC (104OF). The future is here already. And the forecasts? All point to a worsening of the scenario.

In discussing some of the key issues involved, my hope is that as concerned citizens of the world, we will be enthused about taking some action, big or small, once we realize the enormity of the possible consequences of inaction.


Defining Climate Change and Global Warming

There is a cause and effect relationship between these two terms that are used interchangeably. Climate change (especially that attributable to human activity) is contributing to global warming, and our awareness of this phenomenon is the key to understanding what is happening to our environment.

Climate Change

Climate changes have been occurring ever since the Earth came into existence, sometimes dramatically such as after a meteor impact, at other times more subtly such as that dictated by the sun’s energy output which follows an eleven year cycle. Volcanic eruptions are also responsible. These eruptions, somewhat surprisingly and contrary to logical expectation, cause a cooling effect which lasts only a few years.

The important thing is that climate change also occurs, and increasingly so, because of human intervention. A large percentage of the world’s scientists believe that human activity in the 10,000 years of its existence is responsible for an unexpectedly large increase in the Earth’s surface temperatures. This is the effect known as global warming.

Global Warming

In the hundred years of the twentieth century, global air temperatures rose 0.74OC (33OF). In the subsequent hundred and ten years between 1990 and 2100, the rise is expected to be 1.1 to 6.4OC (34 to 43.5OF). Some scientists prefer the expression “global heating” as they feel “warming” is too mild and does not reflect the true state of affairs.

New research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA points to a 90% chance that temperatures could rise as much as 3.5 to 7.4OC (38.3 to 45.3OF). Two factors which seem to account for this upward revision are the swift economic growth in developing nations, especially in China and India, and the limited ability of the Earth’s oceans to absorb excessive carbon emissions.

To understand these two terms and the relationship between them, it is necessary to look at the greenhouse effect.

 

The Natural Greenhouse Effect

Water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – the so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Earth’s atmosphere - create a natural “greenhouse effect” by “trapping” heat between the Earth’s surface and the Troposphere (the atmospheric layer 5 to 10 miles above the surface). This heat is radiated back to the Earth. If this did not happen, the Earth would be a cold place with temperatures around 0OC (-32OF) instead of the current average of 14OC (57OF).

The Greenhouse Effect Created by Man

We are intrinsically acquisitive animals. In pursuit of a “better” life-style, we have burnt fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas to such an extent that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from between 170 to 300 ppm (parts per million) to 385 ppm currently. This is the highest in the last 800,000 years. Additionally, the concentration of methane and nitrous oxide has also gone up substantially. The net effect is that the Earth is warming up more than it would have without our presence.

How Serious Is the Issue?

When 35,000 people die because of excessive heat, as happened in Europe in 2003, you have to believe it is serious. Had there been no increase in GHGs attributable to man, the probability of such a heat wave would have been four times lower.

Listen to people like Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Government. Speaking at an International Science meeting in February 2004, he said “In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today – more serious even than the threat of terrorism.” Many qualified people who have no axe to grind either way believe the same.

What Is Causing Global Warming?

There is consensus that global warming is taking place. There are differences of opinion on why this is happening and how much is because of human activity. Heavyweights like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) believe the single most important factor is GHG emissions created by man. The other major reason is deforestation - again man's doing.

Greenhouse Gases

The pie chart below shows that carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide contribute 99% of GHGs. Over 50% of carbon dioxide emissions are caused by burning coal to run thermal power stations and cement plants, and by burning gasoline as automobile fuel. This apart, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lasts for thousands of years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greenhouse_Gas_by_Sector.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greenhouse_Gas_by_Sector.jpg

Nearly 70% of methane emissions come from livestock farming, energy exploration and large dams. Sewage and decomposing garbage in landfills add to the emitted methane.

Methane is about 21 times a more effective global warmer than carbon dioxide. The good news if any is that methane’s longevity in the atmosphere is just 12 years compared with the thousands of years carbon dioxide takes to disappear. Another piece of good news is that methane can itself be used as fuel for power stations.

Approximately 90% of nitrous oxide is released into the atmosphere from nitrogen fertilizer production and nylon products manufacturing.

Deforestation

Another major factor in global warming is deforestation. It is estimated that 20% of carbon dioxide emissions are the result of green forest cover decimation.

 Courtesy knowledge.allianz.com/.../animations/12/detail/
Courtesy knowledge.allianz.com/.../animations/12/detail/

A glance at the map shows how forests have been ravaged to make way for human settlements, industry, highways, farming and to meet other human needs. This is especially marked across Asia, Europe and Africa. Forests absorb carbon dioxide during the process of photosynthesis. Trees also increase cloudiness by evaporating water into the atmosphere. Every year, forest cover equal to the area of Great Britain is lost because of mindless greed and the insatiability of human need.

Indians from Xingu National Park Brazil – Forests Cleared for Farming

Image Courtesy http://knowledge.allianz.com/en/media/galleries/deforestation_causes.html
Image Courtesy http://knowledge.allianz.com/en/media/galleries/deforestation_causes.html

How Aware Are We?

Let me relate the apocryphal story of a frog. If you throw a frog into hot water, it will have a heart attack and die. But if you put it into tepid water which is in the process of being heated, it will make no attempt to jump out. It remains oblivious to the fact that the water is getting hotter and it may be roasted alive. Or more appropriately, boiled alive.

So it is with most of us. We still see global warming as something far and away. It is not going to affect us or our children, we think, and see little beyond that. We need to realize there is a “tipping point” beyond which the changes caused by higher temperatures become irreversible. Some of these points are closer than we think, ten years or less by some estimates.

Something to Think about - the US, China and India

I think we tend to underplay the impact China is already having on world affairs, and which India will have fairly soon. Prices of goods are being increasingly dictated by what is happening in China. Has domestic demand for a particular product in China gone up? Well, expect that product to become more expensive. So what they say about a global village is all too true.

As the Chinese and Indian economies continue to grow, estimates of global warming are also being revised upwards. But are they being changed sufficiently? Let’s look at some figures for automobiles. For every 1,000 citizens, there are 750 motor vehicles on the roads in the US compared to 8 in China. If China were to reach the US ratio, the Chinese would happily consume the world’s entire oil output - and its cars would emit as much carbon dioxide as the whole world does today. Does that say something? Of course this is not going to happen tomorrow, but it may just happen faster than we think, especially in a country with a totalitarian regime accountable only to itself.

Envision a scenario in which one of every three human beings (which is what the combined population of China and India represent), consumes as much of the Earth’s resources as the average American does today. Just give it a thought.

The Good Guys and the Bad Guys

In any challenge of this scale, there will invariably be heroes and villains. There will also be shades of grey among the black and white.

My Heroes of the On-going War on Global Warming

Al Gore

To me, the champion of champions. The former Vice-President of the USA and joint Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007 (along with the IPCC) has successfully re-engineered himself by taking up the cause of one of our world’s most potentially destructive issues. His untiring efforts in taking on powerful lobbies like the coal and cement industries make him a true hero. Log on to his website www.climatecrisis.net to see the trailer of the video An Inconvenient Truth.

Professor Tim Flannery

I attended an inspiring presentation by this handsome, well-spoken Professor from Down Under a few months ago. This spurred my desire to research and write this Hub. The Australian is well-informed and passionate in his beliefs. His book The Weather Makers details why global warming is happening and what needs to be done.

http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/pages/page326.asp
http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/pages/page326.asp

George Monbiot

A reporter with the Guardian newspaper, Monbiot wrote Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning in 2006. He focuses on the importance of achieving a 90% cut on GHG emissions by 2030 and argues in favour of revolutionary methods of building construction, transportation and air travel to combat the warming.

Bashunto Jana

Bashunto is unknown and unsung. At age 81, this once proud owner of 85 acres of land on Lochachara Island in the Sunderbans Delta in Eastern India now has one acre of land on a nearby island. Lochachara’s sorrowful claim to fame is that it is the first inhabited island in the world to be washed off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels. Bashunto’s one acre may also soon be gone as that island itself is under threat of submersion. To people like Bashunto, global warming is not something waiting to happen. It has already happened. He has to be my hero for not giving up on life and for accepting his sad reality in silence.

The Oceans

Almost half of the carbon dioxide produced by man since the Industrial Revolution has been absorbed by the oceans. This has slowed global warming. Unfortunately it has also slowed the growth of coral, plankton and other marine creatures at the bottom of the food chain. As carbon dioxide is acidic, the surface waters of the oceans could become more acidic than ever before in five million years, reducing the capacity of shell-forming species to form shells and affecting the marine food chain.

The carbon dioxide stored in oceans is presently about one-third of what the oceans can take. This limitation is another pressing reason to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Soot

Awareness of soot as a potential warmer is so recent that it was not even mentioned in the summary report of 2007 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Black carbon, as it is otherwise called, is emitted by cooking stoves in the villages of developing nations. Some recent reports say it could be contributing as much as 18% towards warming, second highest after carbon dioxide.

Soot particles absorb the sun’s heat and melt the ice when they settle on glaciers. They also make snow less white, thereby reducing its effectiveness in radiating the sun’s heat back into space. Its longevity in the atmosphere is just a few weeks. Changing over to low-soot stoves can be a short-term solution to reduce global warming till other measures kick in. Human health problems related to the use of black carbon will also reduce.

Rudolph Giuliani

I was disappointed to see the erstwhile hero of 9/11 turn villain as his law firm lobbies against the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Bill in the USA. He says “We have to increase reliance on coal” for reasons that need not be stated. I haven’t heard greater trash in a long while.

The Coal Industry, the Automobile Industry, Cement Production and Thermal Power Stations – Responsible for Carbon Dioxide Emission

Nearly 80% of carbon dioxide emissions come from these sources. It is estimated that 244 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide have already been emitted by man into the atmosphere.

The coal industry recently spent US $ 250 million on a TV campaign for clean coal – which Al Gore promptly called an oxymoron. These are immensely strong lobbies with deep pockets and should not be underestimated, especially in the less developed economies where money easily buys power and influence.

One positive effect of burning coal is the formation of sulfate aerosol particles which help in reflecting incoming sunlight away from the earth.

Large Dams and Livestock – Responsible for Methane Gas Emission

One study shows that the world’s 52,000 large dams contribute more than 4% of the warming effect. Indian dams are the worst, contributing 28% followed by Brazil with 18%. Methane is produced by the trees and plants which have been submerged by the dam waters and is released when the water passes through the turbines of hydro-electric power stations.

Where it is large dams in India, it is sheep in New Zealand that contribute nearly 50% of that country’s equivalent carbon dioxide emissions. The world’s 1.3 billion cattle population, 1 billion sheep, 1 billion pigs, 17 billion chicken and 800 million goats are handsome methane emitters. A cow emits something like 250 to 500 litres of methane every day from both ends – an indelicate burp being unable to expel the quantity produced.

If that was not enough, scientists have discovered that millions of tonnes of methane lie buried beneath the Arctic ice. As this ice thins, methane is beginning to bubble up to the surface.

The United States of America – an Over-consuming, Wasteful Society

The figures speak for themselves:

  • Global carbon emissions are 7 billion tones, approx. 1 tonne per person per year. The average American generates 10 tonnes per year.
  • The average American generates more than 10 times the GHG as the average Chinese.
  • The 5% of the world’s population living in the USA contributes 20% of carbon dioxide emissions and consumes 30% of the world’s resources.
  • The carbon footprint (CF) and ecological footprint (EF) of Americans are the highest in the world. The average American’s carbon footprint is 20 tonnes carbon dioxide per annum compared to 1.1 tonnes for the average Indian. So even considering that there are three times more Indians than Americans, the figures are still revealing.
  • In 2003, the ecological footprint for the average American was 9.6 hectare (ha) compared to 5.6 ha for the average Britisher / Frenchman, 1.6ha for the Chinese and 0.8 ha for the average Indian.

Simply put, the CF is the amount of GHG produced by a person or an organization measured in units of carbon dioxide. Thus the kind of car you drive, the number of air miles you clock, and the electricity you consume at home are some factors that count towards your CF. The website www.safeclimate.net/calculator will work out your value.

The ecological footprint (EF) is a broader concept and estimates how much land and water are needed to produce all the resources an individual consumes and to dispose off all the waste and pollution created. A comprehensive EF calculatoris available online at http://www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp.

To be fair, the US House of Representatives has on 29 June 2009, passed the ACES Act 2009 (HR 2454). This will now go before the Senate. Essentially, this Act aims to reduce global warming in the US by 83% below present levels by 2050. The Act will also reduce dependence on fossil fuels and help build clean and renewable energy sources.

The real question is – is enough being done soon enough by those who are part of the problem?

Ozone in the Troposphere

Ozone is both the good guy and the bad guy, like soot (also called black carbon or aerosols). Ozone in the stratosphere protects earth from radiation (otherwise we would all be fried double quick) but in the troposphere it becomes a GHG, adding to the woes created by carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

How Will Global Warming Affect Us – Three Key Changes

 

Rise in Sea Levels

This is probably the most important indicator of global warming as it comes from only two occurrences - glacial melt and the expansion of ocean water as it warms. The major ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are melting. If the Greenland sheet alone were to melt completely, it would lead to a sea level rise of 20 feet (6 meters). In the coming centuries, sea levels may rise by as much as 65 feet (20 meters) leading to submergence of 40% of land area.

Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center, W.O. Field. B.F. Molnia
Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center, W.O. Field. B.F. Molnia

 

Recent research shows that there is more than a 90% chance that sea level rise along the North-eastern coast of the USA (including New York City), would be nearly 18 inches (nearly 450mm) - twice the mean global sea level increase by 2100. Likewise, many coastal cities including Sydney, Tokyo and Kolkata, as well as low-lying regions in Bangladesh, Florida and the Netherlands among others would be under dire threat from the rising waters.

 

Manhattan Under an 8 metre Wave

Image Courtesy geology.rockbandit.net/.../
Image Courtesy geology.rockbandit.net/.../

 In the Sunderbans delta of Eastern India, 70,000 people and 400 Royal Bengal Tigers are already at risk.

The Royal Bengal Tiger

Image Courtesy www.kolkatabirds.com/sunderbans.htm
Image Courtesy www.kolkatabirds.com/sunderbans.htm

Species Extinction

A study released in 2004 showed that of 1,100 species studied in six regions around the world, more than one-third may go extinct if temperatures rise between 1.5 and 2.5OC over those reported in 1990. If this ratio proves correct, over one million of the 4 to 6 million known plant and animal species would perish because of warming.

Among the threatened are the snow leopard, the polar bear, emperor penguins and birds like the sea plover that nest on sea beaches. Species that are dependent on cold climes or nearness to the sea will have to move upwards in terms of altitude or northwards in terms of latitude in order to survive.

The Snow Leopard

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Uncia_uncia.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Uncia_uncia.jpg

The endangered Polar Bear

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polar_Bear_2004-11-15.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polar_Bear_2004-11-15.jpg

The Extinct Dodo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction

 Over 112 species of amphibians have vanished since 1980, the major reason being rising temperatures that have allowed the growth of a fungus that kills frogs by attacking their skin and teeth and releasing a poison. Species lost include the golden toad.

www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/seminars/990929FO.html
www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/seminars/990929FO.html

The natural world faces potential catastrophe because of the combined effect of global warming and habitat destruction. Unlike a General Motors which can still arise Phoenix-like from its ashes, a species once lost, is lost forever.

Higher temperatures are affecting flora and fauna across the world, from coral reefs in the Caribbean, which serve as fish nurseries, to rhododendrons in South Africa., which cannot move to a cooler climate.

 

Extreme Weather

 Many of us are witness to increasingly “freak” occurrences like floods, storms, drought and other extreme weather events. They will not be called freak much longer.

Take a look at just four random days in July 2009. Between 6 July and 9 July, some of the weather events reported across the globe:

  • Landslides and floods in Vietnam. 22 killed – Associated Press, 6 July
  • Benin declares state of emergency over floods – Reuters, 7 July
  • Storm sparks 20 B.C. forest fires – CBC News, 7 July  
  • Floods force evacuations for some Wilmington residents – News 14, 7 July
  • Rains kill 21, leave 700,000 homeless in China – Xinhua, 7 July
  • Heavy rains cause flooding in Charleston and Dorchester County – NBC News, 8 July
  • A downpour causes havoc in Gomoa West – Ghana News, 8 July
  • Parched Mumbai prays for rains to fill supply lakes – Reuters, 9 July
  • Heavy rains temporarily closing many Mass. Beaches – Boston Globe, 9 July

 

Retreat of the Glaciers

 

Listen to One of the World’s Glaciers – the Gangotri Glacier in the Garhwal Himalayas, India

One year ago, I trekked up the Garhwal Himalayas to the Gangotri Glacier, from where one of India’s holiest rivers, the Ganges, emerges. What struck me most were the signs in the rocks which indicated where the Gaumukh (or Cow’s Mouth – the source of the Ganges) was in 1871 and later in 1935.

Standing at 12,000 feet (3700 metres), I realized that in less than 75 years, the glacier had receded some 2 kilometres and was now visible far in the distance. And this glacier provided the melt water to feed 500 million of my countrymen. Were we and the rest of mankind not going grossly wrong somewhere?

So What Can We Do about It?

 

Small Things, Big Things

You and I will never be Supermen or Superwomen. But we can be real-life heroes just by doing some small things and a few big things. Among the small things:

  • Shop for products made from recycled materials and reusable energy. Products with the Energy Star label are already on the market. A bigger market for eco-friendly products would set alarm bells ringing among those manufacturers who continue to tax the Earth. Perhaps it is time for Ralph Nader to rise again.
  • Use less water – simply by closing the tap while shaving so that it does not just drain away. Attend to water leakages urgently.
  • Save electricity. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and solar panels. There are issues regarding disposal of mercury in the CFLs. It is useful to know that coal-fired power stations produce even more mercury.

  • Switch from plastic to reusable cloth bags. Use washable mugs not plastic ones. Every year over 60 billion Tonnes of plastic is produced, of which less than 5% is recycled. Where does the rest end up? It goes into the oceans and kills bird and marine life.
  • Turn off the standby buttons on your TV. Be aware that electricity is being consumed even in standby mode.

Among the big things:

  • Walk and cycle more and drive less. The less we drive, the less carbon dioxide is emitted into the air.
  • Switch to hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord Hybrid and Civic Hybrid. Anyone notice these are all Japanese makes? The American and European manufacturers of hybrids are lagging woefully behind.
  • Fight the good fight against new thermal power plants. Half of US emissions of carbon dioxideare from such plants.
  • Plant trees. The target? One tree per human being.
  • Start a movement to force governments to stop taxing people and start taxing waste and energy, especially from unsustainable sources like fossil fuels.
  • Reduce our carbon and ecological footprints.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article5771740.ece
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article5771740.ece

Is This the Way the World Will End, Not with a Bang but a Whimper?

Prominent among the doomsayers is a 90 year-old British scientist who is to become one of Virgin’s first space tourists later this year. Since the 1960s, James Lovelock has been writing about the dangers of global warming. In his 2006 book The Revenge of Gaia (Gaia - Greek Goddess of the Earth), Lovelock still held out hope that humanity could be saved.

Three years later, in The Vanishing Face of Gaia, he opines that the Earth has already crossed the threshold. There are just too many of us for the Earth to bear, says Lovelock. By the end of the 21st century (just 90 years away), many of the nearly 7 billion human beings living today would be history. Only a few hundred million would survive, most likely in the far Northern Hemisphere, including the UK.­­ These survivors would adapt to the new hot state and ensure the continuation of the human species.

You may or may not agree with Lovelock. But, if we can learn to tread softly on this Earth even now, we will have done our bit in our own little way.

Quite simply, if the planet dies, we die too.

To Sally's Trove for her untiring efforts to make a writer out of me, my grateful thanks.

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Comments 72 comments

Jaspal profile image

Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

Wow, what a hub, Sabu. And you talk of places very close to my heart.

I did not know Poona 50 years ago, but I was posted and have lived there often enough from 1970 onwards. And I remember the time you speak of, when fans were fitted in the cabins of us cadets at NDA. One has also been a silent and sorry witness to the brutalisation of the nicest town I have ever known when I was there again in 1979 - 81 and yet again in 1988. Now, in 2009, I shudder when someone tells me what has happened to some of my favourite places there.

I first visited Gangotri glacier in 1972, when on a climbing expedition to Sudarshan Parbat. And I returned twice for climbs on other peaks in the region; the last was in 1983 to Satopanth. Each time the mouth of the glacier had retreated considerably, the forests along the approach march had been noticibly depleted. It hurts one's conscience, but I am not sure what each of us can do as individuals.

I am also not so sure about politicians as a breed, and that includes Al Gore - he has been as much criticised as acclaimed for the very same reasons of carbon emissions and climate control.

There is a lot of scientific and statistical data quoted in the hub. I am not knowledgeable enough to comprehend it fully. But I do know that the world has been around for millions of years, and I believe it is going to be there as home to humans and other evolving flora and fauna for millions more. Is there a God or (to use a more neutral term) a higher natural force, that we do not fully understand but one which has some sort of overall control on the hows and whys of life and living that we cannot fully fathom?

I believe there is. And I choose to believe that this natural force or nature has a way of correcting things when they go drastically wrong. Which brings to mind a movie called "The Day After Tomorrow." It might be an unscientific movie, and also quite off the mark in terms of where we are headed. But we are certainly in for some divine intervention or other effects of nature that would over a period (of many centuries or some millennia?) change the world totally from what it is now.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for your comments Jaspal. I would agree with you that Nature has a way of correcting things and I certainly hope we are all proven wrong. We have all been raping the Earth so much that I fear she will wreak revenge.

Glad to know you are a mountaineer. Did you summit Satopanth? A friend of mine has just returned from a trek from Gangotri to Kalindikhal and then to Badrinath. They passed close by Satopanth and he was quite overawed.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Wow is right! I cannot read this at this time, but I will be back when I get home from work. This looks astounding!


Jaspal profile image

Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

No, Sabu ... I did not have the same luck on Satopanth as on Sudarshan. Thanks to inclement weather and some bad planning, the whole team had to return from camp 1.

But the most impressive peak in the area is surely Shivling, even though the latter is about 1800 ft lower in altitude to Satopanth's 23211 ft.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Wow Sabu - that's some hub! The sad thing is, we are living the change, watching it happen and knowing it's only going to get worse for our children and theirs! We all need to contribute - guess most people are caught up in a complacent, apathetic bubble to really care about tomorrow!


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Tough luck Jaspal. Are you still doing climbing? I am reading "Nanda Devi" by Hugh Thompson - very interesting. Have you read it by any chance?

So true Shalini. Thanks for reading.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

This an outstanding article. Congratulations!


Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

This is the best hub I've seen on Global Warming so far....Thank you.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you both Ralph and Tom. Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me.


SEO Expert Kerala profile image

SEO Expert Kerala 7 years ago from KERALA

great work... You are collected almost every information abt global warming. Read my hub on 'Effects Of Global Warming on Human Health

http://hubpages.com/hub/Effects-Of-Global-Warming-...


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Scary, very scary. The sad part is that we are aware of all this on the fringes of our consciousness but refuse to do much when it comes to the crunch. Very well researched and presented Sabu!


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thanks SEO Expert. I shall certainly read your Hub.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Absolutely FP. Thanks for reading and for your comments. How come we haven't seen anything from FP's stables for a while?


kiran8 profile image

kiran8 7 years ago from Mangalore, India

Fantastic hub,Many valid points , thanks a lot sabu for a great hub :)


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you Kiran for your kind words. Glad you liked it.


Connie Smith profile image

Connie Smith 7 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

You have certainly done your homework for this one, Sabu. I am quite impressed with your research. I also worry about global warming for the sake of my grandchildren. Even those people who do not "believe" in global warming must surely agree that pollution and raping the earth of its natural resources has to have a price. Thank you for your logical and well thought out hub on this subject.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Yes, I agree whole-heartedly with your comments,Connie. We really are raping the earth - and doing a damn good job of it. Thank you for reading.


LRobbins profile image

LRobbins 7 years ago from Germany

WOW, Im impressed Sabu! Fantastic, informative, well researched hub! I really like your analogy with the frogs and I had no idea that livestock were such a large contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. I am ashamed that North Americans are so wasteful. I learned so much from reading this Sabu, well done!


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Many thanks LR and thank you for your comments. Wish you a nice day.


Ed Ockelton 7 years ago

Wow Sabu, what a fantastic hub. I need to spend a bit of time reading this in more detail. This is a subject very close to my heart as I live in a European ski resort, and if the press is to be believed, we won't be able to ski there in a few years' time.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thanks Ed - I don't know whether you have noticed any changes first hand, but I have. And this is what sparked my interest too - apart from listening to Tim Flannery.


yes2truth profile image

yes2truth 7 years ago from England

Mr Singh,

Do you work for the UN or one of its off shoots by any chance?


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

No Sir, I do not. Just an ordinary citizen.


yes2truth profile image

yes2truth 7 years ago from England

Then why are you singing from their stinking vile corrupt hymn sheet?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

??? What hymn sheet to you sing out of?


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

I think Ralph is absolutely right. Instead of asking which hymn sheet I am singing from, pray use your own hymn sheet and sing as loud as you wish, from wherever you want.

Please allow me the right to express my views as I allow you.


yes2truth profile image

yes2truth 7 years ago from England

I don't mind anyone expressing their views as long as corrupt thugs dressed up as diplomats and politicians don't jump on their deluded band wagon and start levying taxes on me based on Mickey Mouse data acquired from software designed by Noddy and Big Ears in Toy Town.

Have you brought your 'hockey stick' graph with you Mr Singh, so that we can all have a good chuckle!!??


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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

I think this discussion is going nowhere. If you would like to post a hub expressing your views on this subject, I would be happy to read it otherwise I think we should sign off. Thank you for reading.


yes2truth profile image

yes2truth 7 years ago from England

Mr Singh,

I have expressed my views on it. Do you know what the hockey stick graph is?

Man made global warming/climate change is a lie - a hoax of the powers that be. The Rockefeller controlled UN with its quasi scientists all getting their pockets lined. These people couldn't make a saturated solution in a lab!!

"Just call me Al" Al Gore, the Bush stooge politician who lied through his teeth and got a Nobel prize for doing so.

Come on Mr Singh you need to wake up from your slumber and realise what's going on in this evil world. The US even has a pot smoking foreigner, a Kenyan, for a president.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for your succinctly- expressed views. I wish you well. Cheers.


yes2truth profile image

yes2truth 7 years ago from England

Thank you for your good wishes. I am praying that The Father opens your eyes to The Truth.

“Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world”

Henry Kissinger – 1974

This is what they are ultimately going to use the climate change BS for, Mr Singh, an excuse to depopulate the world.

“The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than a small one”

“What good fortune for government that the people do not think”

Adolf Hitler


kerryg profile image

kerryg 7 years ago from USA

Very impressive hub and collection of resources!


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Many thanks you Kerryg. Glad you enjoyed reading this.


Great Uncle Bill profile image

Great Uncle Bill 7 years ago from South Africa

Hi Sabu,

Pretty good hub and obviously researched pretty well too. Something I don't understand about all this though. Why are we always doing what our governments tell us to do without question. We are always told to drive certain cars, turn thermostats down, buy these types of globes, etc etc. Thats all well and good except for one thing; NONE of that would matter if we put a stop to illegal logging(worldwide) and unsustainable legal logging.(Cadbury's gets their palm oil from these unsustainable resources)

Illegal logging is a multi-billion dollar,blatantly done in the open, industry, so don't tell me it can't be clamped down upon. If our governments did this(Brazil has blatantly taken payoffs in the past), we could drive and fly what we want, use any globe we like and keep our houses nice and warm in winter. The rainforests would self-regenerate and consume all excess carbon. Problem solved. Logical, don't you think? I realise there is more involved than this, but this is where we, as the public, should be putting pressure on our government organisations.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thanks you Great Uncle Bill. I agree totally with what you say. Illegal logging is a major contributor to the issue of global warming. Unfortunately, there are so many interests at play - there are mafias and big money involved, especially in the developing world where the system is so much easier to corrupt. I am sure the problem would be substantially solved with the regeneration of rainforests. But I also think we need to look at all the factors.

Also very importantly, I think we need to see what is happening as China and India modernise and catch up. The Earth's resources could be stretched more than ever before in history. Many thanks for reading and your valued comments.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Sabu, this is a very informative and well-written piece, from which I learned a great deal. Good writing generates considered commentary and discussion, and this Hub has done exactly that. For those who want to learn more, the resources links are invaluable. Thumbs up in every way!


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

The quality of this Hub would not have been anywhere near what it finally turned out to be, without your considerable help and patience. Many thanks Sally's Trove.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Sabu, you are welcome. It's a pleasure working with you.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Here's a link to some recent NY Times articles on climate change by Kate Galbraith. The most recent one, dated 7-30-09, describes a McKinsey study that says a 23 percent energy savings can be achieved by 2020 in the U.S. by applying energy savings technology to homes and commercial businesses.

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopic...


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for sending this link, Ralph. McKinsey quotes a figure of $ 520 billion to achieve savings of $ 1.2 trillion. Huge bucks either way.

There is so much data out there one can go berserk just sifting through it. Thanks once again.


Doc Snow profile image

Doc Snow 7 years ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

Let me add my voice to those praising this hub. It is very well-written and well-researched--and it is wonderful to hear an Indian perspective. (Too often it is assumed that no-one outside the "charmed circle" of the so-called First World has any awareness or concern for environmental issues.)

A couple of comments on methane--first, there's a bit of bad news about it that is not well-realized. Although, as you say, it breaks down relatively quickly in the atmosphere, its main break-down product is carbon dioxide! So the breakdown of the methane lessens, but doesn't end, its geenhouse effect.

Second, although the dams and livestock you mention may be problems in the short term, in the long run the methane they emit is not "new" to the climate system; it must have come from the carbon dioxide metabolized by the trees trapped behind dams when they were alive, or by the grass the sheep ate. So in the long term these are not so bad.

Lastly, I'd like to mention another conservation measure: low-flow toilets. I just installed two in our house (naturally, I published a hub about the experience: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-not-to-install-a-low-f...

The savings in water are obvious, but we are apt to forget the electricity that it takes to pump the hundreds of gallons of water yearly that our household will now conserve. It's maybe worth mentioning, too, that our region has a water supply that has experienced considerable stress in recent years, and has good reason to expect more trouble around this issue in the future. For us individually, that meant that our new toilets were almost free after rebates from our local government, which is trying to lower water usage.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Doc Snow, I am delighted you have found the time to read this Hub. Many thanks for adding to my knowledge and perspective. You are obviously well-informed on this subject (apart from many others I am sure).


Doc Snow profile image

Doc Snow 7 years ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

Thanks in turn. I look forward to reading more of your Hubs!


andromida profile image

andromida 7 years ago

Excellent hub on a very important topic of the present time.thanks.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you Andromida. It is most important for the younger generation to be aware and pro-active on this challenge.


Doc Snow profile image

Doc Snow 7 years ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

Hi, sabu--

Came across this story today, and thought that this hub would be a good place to share it. It seems that the release of methane in the Arctic, which I believe you mentioned above, has now been detected.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/09081...

Apparently, most of the methane is being absorbed into the seawater before it reaches the surface right now, but the worry is that that won't be true if the quantities released increase as the Arctic continues to warm. (And July saw the world's oceans at their warmest recorded temperatures ever, so the Arctic will keep warming for the forseeable future.)


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thanks for sharing this, Doc Snow. Glad that you are adding to our knowledge. The article also talks about acidification of the oceans because of the methane. This is also something to think about.


Hxprof 7 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

This article is well done-it lays out the thinking of those who believe that global climate change is due to man. Though I agree with very little you stated here I enjoyed the read.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for your comments Hxprof. I would be happy to read the other view too.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Wondcerful Hub with great info. Thnanks so much for all your research.

These are indeed frightening times and maybe we could do more. I certainly hope we can all learn from this kind of information.

Love and peace

Tony


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

It is remarks like these that make the hours spent researching and writing so worthwhile, Tony. Many thanks for reading.


MercuryNewsOnline profile image

MercuryNewsOnline 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Sabu, your article is well-researched and written with much gusto. It is a pleasure to read and I hope you continue to write about environmental issues.

I wrote three hubs on climate change and the UN Summit on Climate Change held Sept. 22, this week. Hope you have the time to visit and share some comments.

More Power to your hub.

Ed


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for your comments Ed. I shall consider it a privilege to read your Hubs.


wildstuff 7 years ago


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Yes. Always. The more you see, the more you know. Thank you Wildstuff.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

I have had the opportunity to read the blogspot referred to by you Wildstuff and would thank you once again for referring this to my attention. My comments:

1. One swallow does not a summer make. If it has been an unusually cold July in the US, I would need to check what the weather trends in other parts of the world were. As you know, there is a world out there.

2. It needs some imagination to believe there is a global conspiracy to make money out of the climate change / global warming theory. If it were true, I should be laughing all the way to the bank (I am sure Al Gore would share some of the trillions he has made).

3. I don't know for sure, but it is entirely possible there were naysayers to the Ozone hole and the effect of CFCs some years ago. What does the evidence show now?

4. I have no desire to score points as I hold no candle either way but I do believe what I have experienced and will take you back to the beginning of my Hub and my personal experience of climate change in Pune.


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 7 years ago from Jaipur

Hi sabu singh,

Excellent hub about global worming. This hub is selected for Hubbers India.

Congrats.

Jyoti Kothari


pacwriter profile image

pacwriter 7 years ago from North Carolina

We've been duped - again

read the wall street journal article

How to Forge a Consensus

the article explains how a select group of scientists faked studies and shut-out all criticisms. Al Gore's money from Cap and Trade at work!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487034...


MNichopolis profile image

MNichopolis 7 years ago from Massachusetts

Well, ClimateGate has happened. Dr. Phil Jones, in a leaked email, said himself (in 2005):

"The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn't statistically significant."

What does this mean? That the CRU (and likely IPCC) knew about temperature declines, and essentially hid that fact from the public.

The emails reveal a pattern of deception, bullying, and perhaps more troubling, unyielding "faith" to an idea not bourne out of the data. Global warming was more like a religion to them, than a science.

I've written a little regarding some of these startling revelations:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Global-War...


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for your comments pacwriter and MNichopolis.

My personal opinion remains unchanged. The climate is certainly changing-of that I have personal experience. How much of it is because of human activity is open to debate.

As far as "Climategate" is concerned, I would request you to visit the two sites below for the response of IPCC and George Monbiot's opinion:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/29/...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbio...

You may also like to visit the website below for details of a recent report regarding rise in sea levels:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18218-seas-c...


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 6 years ago Author

Those interested may also like to read the article at the link below:

http://www.alternet.org/story/144494/why_is_mainst...


wildstuff 6 years ago


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

Extremely well written hub. I would like to link your hub to mine here at http://hubpages.com/politics/The-Tipping-Point--Ou...

You have done a thorough job of explaining climate change and I am a big big fan! You not only did your research but you put in time and effort by actually visiting places affected by climate change. Great great hub. Thank-you and a way thumbs up!!


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 6 years ago Author

Thank you Dorsi. I did enjoy researching this Hub and I will be glad to read your Hub too.


Scientist 6 years ago

"In the hundred years of the twentieth century, global air temperatures rose 0.74OC (33OF). In the subsequent hundred and ten years between 1990 and 2100, the "

Nope. sorry. Show me a thermometer outside a laboratory that measured to the 1/100 of a degree 1900. Digital devices did not exist at that time. The data are nonsense.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 6 years ago Author

No wonder you have chosen the acronym "scientist", Scientist.

Interesting observation-guilty as charged, I guess.

The point is that in all the hyperbole, the real issue gets obfuscated.

I would refer you to the first para wherein I have cited my own personal reference regarding warming. That holds true regardless of whether digital thermometers existed in 1900 or not.

Thanks however for pointing this out. I shall get back to wherever I sourced this info from and find out more.


andydurling profile image

andydurling 5 years ago from East Sussex, UK

Thank you, sabu singh, for an awesome Hub. A wonderful, well-written summary of much of the evidence about climate change and some useful information and links that I had not read about before. I particularly liked your ancdotes about your own personal experiences in India of the effects of global warming. An Indian perspective is so useful in helping to gain a truly global perspective of what global warming is doing right now to all of us, especially as Indian news does not get enough coverage, in my humble opinion, in the UK mainstream media. Thanks also for your patience and skill in replying to some very uncivil and aggressive remarks by climate change deniers - why do so many of them have to be so rude and get so upset and paranoid?


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 5 years ago Author

Those are extremely kind words, Andy. I guess one has to take the brickbats with the flowers - and I thank you for your nice comments.


Ron 4 years ago

This is very interesting post, I like your fantastic hub!

best regards,

Ron from Fitness http://www.intervalstraining.net


Pharmd580 4 years ago

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Prof Liway profile image

Prof Liway 17 months ago from Bulacan, Philippines

So interesting. I love the way he presented his hub. It made me use my senses without the actual scenarios in front of me. The descriptions within his hub was so simple yet so exciting and gave me vivid pictures in my imagination. Congratulations your hub really deserved to be the Editor's Choice.


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sabu singh 17 months ago Author

Thank you for your kind words Prof Liway. Glad you found this useful.

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