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Need is to leave the comfort zone


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The south-western and western Europe is in the grip of a deadly heat wave. Wildfires in Spain, Portugal and France and Greece have caused deaths and devastations. Thousands have been evacuated to safer locations. England saw its highest temperatures last week. Experts forecast that the heat wave may further spread as it was moving north.

In the face of the unprecedented hot weather, England and France issued extreme heat warning. In Northern Spain on Monday last week temperature rose to 43 degrees Celsius (109 deg. Fahrenheit).

Recently more than 1,000 deaths have been reported  from Spain and Portugal. On July 14, in the town of Pinbao in Portugal, the temperature rose to as high as 47 deg Celsius which on Fahrenheit scale was 116.6 degree. Clearly, these economically and technologically  advanced nations were quite helpless against the wrath of Nature. In France, they termed it 'heat apocalypse'.

Australia, on the other hand, had seen its worst. In recent years, Australia experienced its most devastating bush fires. On this score, as reported by the BBC, a survey conducted in Australia every five years found 'widespread and abrupt' changes in the country's ecological systems. As expected, the study blamed all changes indicating a sharp decline in the country's ecosystems on climate change. For the same force has triggered habitat loss of the indigenous species, rise of invasive species, pollution and other regressive trends. What the report found has been in a word shocking.

Consider, for example, the fact that some 19 ecosystems of the country are on the verge of collapse and that the nation has lost more species to the process of extinction than in any other continent.

But the disturbing news has stirred the nation's conscience only after the study was conducted. Like Australia, most advanced nations carry out regular studies to see the impact of climate change in their countries. From time to time, they also carry out researches in other parts of the world to know how far the anthropogenic carbon emissions have effected irreversible changes in the environment in the study areas concerned.

Then what about countries like Bangladesh where the lack of political will and not to speak of the required resources that always come in the way of conducting such studies to take mitigation measures early on?

From that point of view, the advanced nations are somewhat ahead of us in at least knowing what is going on near home on the climate front. But knowing is one thing and taking actions for averting the danger is another. The raging wildfires in Europe, Australia and North America are not new phenomena. Actually, it has been taking place at regular intervals over the past few years.

Seeing that these countries are quite helpless in the face of this predictable natural calamity, one wonders what these rich and technologically advanced countries have been doing all these years about taking preparatory measures against the onslaught of these all-engulfing fires?

Again, the issue of  political will comes to the fore. For every nation on earth knows what is to be done to avert the recurrence of the devastating natural calamities born of anthropogenic changes taking place in the earth's environment day in and day out.

The problem is that the world dominated by the profit-hungry corporate interests does not want to leave the comfort zone for a moment. And it is hardly surprising that the advanced nations are deliberately reneging on the promises made in every climate summit held so far.

The European countries' scramble for new sources of fossil fuel in the wake of the Ukraine war only points to the hollowness of these countries' promises made at the COP summits.

A question may be raised at this point that transition from a non-renewable to a renewable energy base  cannot be done overnight. Neither the technology so far developed is efficient enough to replace the fossil fuel-based industry and life, one might add. But that cannot also be any argument for not adopting serious measures for switching to the clean energy option. Scientists have been ringing the  alarm bell over the global warming having to do with fossil fuel burning and the irreversible damage it has been causing to the environment during  the past few decades.

What it required was investments from the governments as well as the corporate world on a massive scale to enable the transition within the shortest possible time. But the vested corporate interests and the governments they support chose to adopt the Fabian tactics to win against the forces of climate change. Meanwhile, they also found some leaders like Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, or the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil who simply deny science to serve corporate interests. Needless to say, such tendency is nothing but suicidal.

They must understand that the extreme heat wave in the western Europe or the raging wildfires in the Iberian peninsula will spare none. There will be no place to hide even for the world's richest if they continue living the way they have got used to.

The fossil-energy based growth myth needs to be busted. The advanced world should be prepared for the austerity they so often prescribe for the low-income countries whenever the later fall on hard times. In fact, change of lifestyle to suit less energy use is the best option before the human race to survive the impending climate Armageddon.

The majority populations of the low-income countries except those who live in their urban centres are already used to low-energy lifestyle. Unlike the populations of the advanced world, the transition won't be that painful for the people of the least developed nations.

So, it is again up to the advanced nations who are at the moment reeling from extreme heat waves sweeping through their lands to take global warming seriously and thus decarbonise their economies.

 

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