Musings by Shekhar Nambiar
A lot is happening in the world these days. From G20, war in Ukraine, a restive Chinese population as they grapple with the pandemic, elections in India, to FIFA 2022, the Football World Cup, and the preparations ahead for Christmas.
Cyclone Mandous off the Mamallapuram coast has made landfall near Chennai and has weakened into deep depression but bringing in its wake heavy rain.
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As this piece goes online, the Quarter Finals’ knockout round of FIFA2022 will have been kicked off. There have been several upsets in Qatar and the remaining few days can be expected to be competitive, high decibel and high-pitched.
FIFA final stages
With Brazil entering the stage, all eyes were on them and the slogans kept ringing in the stands ‘Ole, Ole Brazil’ during their quarter finals match with spirited Croatia. In the penalty shootout, however, a feisty Croatia stunned Brazil 4-2, following a 1-1 tie. Next week in the first semi-finals, they go to meet Argentina, who beat the Netherlands in a fiercely contested match with several yellow cards and a red card.
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France, England, Portugal and Morocco go for their quarter final matches on Saturday as the world waits with bated breath on which of them make it to the second semi-finals.
It is just as well that FIFA2022 is happening in this part of the world, the second time the World Cup – since Japan and South Korea together hosted the tournament in 2002 – has been played in Asia. Mercifully, the game being played in Qatar is isolated from other raging controversies.
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Qatar is away from the Climate Change debate, at least for now. Although it’s winter here, Christmas celebrations, like in India, are not likely to be in snow.
Quite the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere, where people wait eagerly for it to snow during Christmas eve and in the days following December 25. White Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere has been much talked and written about. Snow and Christmas went together. White Christmas wishes were meant to bring good tidings and cheer to friends and family.
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Santa Claus and Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer, brought in Christmas cheer and goodies for generations of children. Images of Santa Claus as he slid through soot-covered chimneys were what children were brought up to believe.
With snow no longer there, Christmas will never be the same. Or can it?
The last few decades have seen a marked decline in snowy Christmas in several parts of the world, thanks to changes in weather patterns. Be it in Europe or America snow continues to elude Christmas festivities.
This year we witnessed unprecedented heat wave conditions in the European continent and UK. People thronged water fronts and pools to cool themselves. Most old-timers had not experienced anything like this in their living memory.
There is every evidence to indicate that these peculiarities and extreme heat waves can be ascribed to global warming and climate change.
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These effects of climate change will have telling effects on people in India to the UK. In short, it’s not just going to be sea-level rises affecting islands but the effects will be visible everywhere in varied ways.
What forecasts say
All is not bad news though. There are long-range forecasts for snow during the Christmas week this year in several regions of the US. This is a happy augury for celebrations. The UK is expected to have its first White Christmas in 12 years hoping it’d snow in the true Christmas spirit.
Unless immediate concrete actions are taken, the prognosis is quite alarming. There is particularly bad news for India.
The last few decades have witnessed very early onset of heat wave conditions of up to 46 degrees Celsius in northern parts of India, including in the national capital Delhi. This has put populations in grave danger. Extreme weather conditions have resulted in several deaths in the past decade.
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All this also portents a very bad time from an economic standpoint. The adverse impacts would also include the heavy toll on the country’s workforce as they become exposed to extremely hazardous risks from high temperatures and heat waves, reducing productivity and impacting economic growth.
Threat is real
Warnings have come from no less a quarter than the UN’s IPCC and from World Bank forecasts.
Climate Change is for real. The threats are real and we’re having to pay a penalty already. Concrete action by countries can still reverse it. The time for action is now before it is too late.
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