I read this news article just now, “http://www.deccanherald.com/content/665648/world-glacier-melting-passes-point.html” titled World glacier melting passes point of no return: study. And this prompted me to write this post.
Sushil Bajpai had introduced me to this concept of climate tipping points by explaining the reinforcing processes present in the Earth’s climate system. (more could be found at https://www.climateinteractive.org/insights/climate-tipping-points/) Back then (it was year 2009 I think) listening to this gave me a feeling of Apocalypse. Then I saw James Hansen’s paper (https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf) and it seemed like there were some people who were highlighting the warning signs and the science behind the warning. You can read more by searching books on this subject (storms of my grand children, 6 degrees: Our future on a hotter planet).
The news article I mention suggests that even if humanity reduced emissions to keep the temperature rise to well below 2 C or 1.5 C the glaciers would continue to melt over the coming century and beyond. It mentions that “Around 36 percent of the ice still stored in glaciers today would melt even without further emissions of greenhouse gases”.
Some questions that come to my mind, “Does this mean that we should stop working toward mitigating climate change?”, “Should we stop worrying and enjoy mindlessly by indulging ourselves in senseless consumerism?” I don’t know. May be not yet. But what I definitely know is that the window of opportunity to act is closing really fast. A district 100 kms away from Pune recorded 40 C on 23rd Feb 2018. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/bhira-hottest-place-in-india-at-40-c/articleshow/63052311.cms) This is not a common phenomena, but it could get more common as we head into a warm and uncertain future.
I think the question that I would like to ask myself and to everyone is “Are current mitigation efforts proving to be enough? Should we seriously consider adapting to climate change and begin the process of redesigning our cities, economies and lifestyles?”
The earlier we begin the farther we can sustain.