Rising Oceans, Sinking Cities

UPSC Prelims Exam 2020 Test Series

Important Topics for UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam 2020

Rising Oceans, Sinking Cities

1. This RSTV Summary is about an IPCC Report that says that The Earth could witness a dramatic decline in fish stocks, a 100-fold increase in the damage caused by super storms and millions of people displaced by rising seas, if humanity does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2. The objective of the UNFCCC is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system”. According to the report Small Island and many low lying Mega cities will face Extreme Sea level events every year and the four countries for example USA, China, India and Europe will face the most devastating fallout of Oceans and ice related impacts of Climate change. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was a critical scientific input into the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement in 2015.

3.Oceans serve as a marine sponge for the planet, soaking up a quarter of the CO2 emitted by humans and absorbing more than 90 per cent of the additional heat generated by greenhouse gas emissions since 1970. As a result, the oceans have become warmer, more acidic and less salty.

  • The global warming is the main cause of melting oceans. Because our land, water and air are closely related to this.
  • Oceans are covered three-fourth part of the globe and large number of fishermen and the economy is depend upon oceans because of the global warming our oceans are suffering very badly.

4. Some Main Concerns Raised by This Problem

Freshwater supplies for billions of people, including the world’s mountain dwellers, will be hit by melting glaciers that will first release far too much water, and then not enough.

Without cuts to man-made emissions, at least 30 per cent of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt by the end of the 21st century, unleashing billions of tones of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.

By the year 2100, ‘annual flood damages are expected to increase by two to three orders of magnitude’, or 100- to 1,000-fold.

Glaciers are melting rapidly and consequently the volume of water in the oceans is increasing. It is estimated that around 400 million ton ice is being melted away every year in the last ten years.

5. Consequences

Higher temperatures caused by global warming have led to greater-than-average summer melting as well as diminished snowfall due to later winters and earlier springs. That creates an imbalance between runoff and ocean evaporation, causing sea levels to rise.

Mountain glaciers, increased heat is causing the massive ice sheets that cover Greenland and Antarctica to melt more quickly.

These rising sea levels pose a major threat to island nations and coastal areas meaning that these areas could be swamped and submerged by water anytime in the future. Since low lying areas are mostly occupied by poor people, they will be forced to migrate to hinterlands as the sea level rises

Contamination of freshwater sources would also affect irrigation and farming, eventually leading us to a food crisis.

Animals are facing the threat of extinction, and then humans living in coastal areas and island nations also face the threat of getting submerged in case a deluge happens.

If the climatic conditions are going to continue, it will be difficult to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before the set timeline of 2030.

6. Action taken by the Indian government

India is doing well to achieve Paris agreement and promoting non-fossil fuels. And already achieved target of installed solar power capacity and also plan to raise its target.

To utilize and upgrade the excellent network of railways which is a far less polluting, cheaper and having less requirement of space than highways, as a mode of transport. In that direction, we need to calibrate our developmental roadmap so as to not blindly follow the developed countries.

India should take up the leadership role by demonstrating examples for other countries such as China and the USA which are sceptical about climate change.

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