Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Age of Innocence

Like the players in Edith Wharton‘s The Age of Innocence, climate change seems to be plagued with scandals.   There have been a series of climategates – from hacked emails of the University of East Anglia , to accusations of unnecessary alarm on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, exaggeration on the sea level rise that the Dutch objected to, lack of peer reviews within the IPCC, to CDM fraud and its unintended beneficiaries and even to Dr Pachauri s high carbon miles and his vested interests in clean tech businesses.   That he wrote a racy sex novella immediately before the scandal broke did not help the good doctor.

Ah. There was even Amazongate – which attacked the IPCC, claiming their data on the Amazon Rainfall was false. The claim was aired in hundreds of publications.   Only to be subsequently retracted by the Times. But the damage had been done.

Now wait till the full Al Gore sex scandal with his masseuse comes to he fore.  There will be a settlement of a few millions – it will get more eyeballs than 2010 year being another temperature record year, or USD2.65 billion needed to clean up the BP oil spill or the rapid Arctic Sea ice loss that we experienced in June or even drought in parts of the rainforests in the Amazon.  That we are likely to head towards a 4 degree temperature increase leading to near-total collapse of the huge Greenland ice sheet will get a dot of a mention.
Why even go to such sibylline locations of the Arctic or the Amazon.

In our own country we do not hear about environmental refugees from the Ghoramara islands of the Sunderbans due to sea level rise, who are forced to vacate their community.  Or the threat to our national security due to melting of glaciers along our borders with Tibet. That we already experience more severe droughts and floods is taken as business as usual. Food security will be under severe threat.

Neither is the rapid melting of the Gangotri glacier, a source of drinking water for 40% of the world’s population even newsworthy . That some of our revered rivers will become seasonal before they disappear completely has not caught the attention in any news reporting circles. 
 How desperate does the climate crisis have to get before we even acknowledge it.
Will we forget our Ganga as we did our Saraswati ?


  1. Very Well Written.....

  2. Thanks for this Viva. It is good to have someone tell us about the "closer to home" eventualities in addition to what we are experiencing with temperatures, floods, drought and related! Well done.