The untimely snowfall

Climate Change has turned a joyful harvest season into a calamitous event
The untimely snowfall
File Photo: Mir Wasim for Greater Kashmir

DR. AIJAZ HASSAN

aijazku@gmail.com

In our Childhood days October, the month of harvest, used to be a joyful occasion. Children used to play cricket, and the elder ones used to reap the dividends of their hard-work, the harvest, as reward of their yearlong effort. However, in the recent years this month has brought sorrows in this region. Kashmir is an agriculture based economy and horticulture is the backbone of Kashmir’s primary sector. In the year 2021 such extremes of climate and their consequences have been witnessed in other parts of the world as well.

Though it is very difficult to identify the definite reason for such type of weather events because in such cases numerous variables are involved. However, scientific community world unanimously ascribe such events happening globally to climate change. In the current year both developed and developing countries witnessed extremes of climate events, e.g. some countries of Northern Europe especially the UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Italy had extreme rainfall and dreadful floods which resulted in many human causalities and damage to property and infrastructure.

Likewise, in Southern Europe especially Greece, Albania, former Yugoslav republics such as North Macedonia and other countries on or near the Mediterranean, have experienced severe heat waves and dry weather conditions. These dry conditions resulted in massive wildfires. Similarly, western United States and Canada have undergone unprecedented heat waves, for which people especially in Canada are completely unprepared, prolonged drought and heat waves were the main cause of wildfires over vast areas. China too witnessed extreme rainfall and floods and condition of many cites were frightening, and also some dams were in dangerous condition. Different parts of India witnessed extreme rainfall events triggering landslides, flooding and urban water-logging, with a total absence of preparedness.

Such events clearly show that climate change is a reality and its severe impacts are seen world over. It is also a reality that temperatures have risen globally by around 1.2 ºC. The situation is going to worsen with further increase in temperature as it has been predicted that global temperature is going to rise by 2 ºC. It is surprising that in spite of witnessing these extreme events of climate some leaders in the world, their governments, and some agencies are adamant that nothing like climate change is happening. The ideological supporters of market greed were always eager to underplay the gravity of the possible infringement it could effect on every aspects of human life.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first of the series of reports to be published under its Sixth Assessment cycle. This report on “The Physical Science Basis,” comes from Working Group-I (IPCC/AR/WG-1) and is always the first to be released in the series which includes reports from WG-2 on Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability, scheduled for release in February 2022, and WG-3 on Mitigation scheduled for March 2022, with an AR6 Synthesis Report pulling all the strands together, including three special reports released earlier, expected in September next year.

The report of IPCC/AR6/WG-1 should push for a strong, immediate and concerted action by nations of the world for ensuring appropriate, equitable national actions to reduce national and global emissions. It should be remembered that the IPCC is a scientific body, but its assessment reports are also endorsed by governments, as is true of AR6/WG1.

The next global climate summit due to take place in November in Glasgow, Scotland, is in any case expected to arrive at commitments by countries to much more ambitious emission reduction commitments than under the Paris Agreement. Does the world dare to expect , especially the developed nations, to see the writing on the wall and pledge deeper emission cuts, or will we see them continue to hide their responsibility under global targets?

Till different countries, the leaders, and agencies understand their duty towards this gave problem of the world, everybody should do his/her best to mitigate this problem by conserving their immediate environment, and ensure sustainable utilization of bio-resources. So far as Kashmir Himalaya is concerned it has a fragile ecosystem and the situation is going to worsen if some positive steps are not been taken both at governmental and community levels. The Valley of Kashmir has witnessed a badly planned urbanization after 1990 and unprecedented cutting of forests, and land use changes. These actions by humans are the main cause of modification in local climate which results in cloud bursts, floods, and other related weather events. Therefore, to prevent the damage to property and infrastructure, and also to human lives, these practices should be discouraged at the earliest.

Keeping in view the present scenario and reality of climate change the early repining of apples should be encouraged, particularly in higher reaches of Kashmir Himalaya. Also it is the duty of scientists to develop such varieties which are morphologically and anatomically fit to withstand such calamities. The technological intervention is also needed to minimize such losses in the near future.

Dr. Aijaz Hassan, Department of Botany, Kargil Campus

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