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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 - 9:26 PM
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Cold comfort to climate change

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“The earth is supposed to grow warmer because of global warming,” so remarks a teenager to his father, who is seated with the rest of the family close to a kerosene heater, “and yet it feels a lot colder outside.”

The mother muscles in and says this winter has been comparatively colder than the last.

The father quips at his wife that this winter is always colder than the last, because people forget what last winter felt like, and probably will say the same the next winter.

Perhaps, or maybe the temperatures are indeed dropping, going by records maintained by the metereology division officials, and what they claim was triggered by the cold wave whooshing in from Northern India.

Although it has yet to be proven scientifically, residents in Phuentsholing have felt this queer change in weather, where they have had to slip on their heavy jumpers, jackets and boots.

Temperatures in Bumthang struggle to rise from negative five degrees.

Outside the country, drops in temperature have been reported in the UK, the US, India and other parts of the world in recent times.

What does all this go to show?

While we might argue that the country’s rich forest cover and other natural environment have the ability to and actually do absorb from the atmosphere carbon dioxide that developed and industrialised nations emit, we are just as vulnerable, if not more, to its impacts as any nations that are to blame.

Bhutan is just a patch between two roaring economies that show no signs of slowing down in their stride towards economic development.

Going beyond the two neighbouring nations into the region, and what we like to visualise as a green patch turns into a dot that would vanish if it were a wee bit smaller.

Economists in the past have argued that greenhouse emissions can be curbed without having to flatten the world economy, but that model has not taken any tangible shape.

In fact, climate change continues to be one of the most difficult political problems the world continues to deal with, and that is evident from the disagreement among nations, caught on either side of two critical dimensions – emission levels or economic prosperity.

While the world remains undecided, and caught up at that, and others continue to claim their moral right, as Lyonchhoen put it, to demand their own share of emission towards economic growth, we should hold firm to our policies.

The country’s laws and policies that put a premium on environmental preservation draws it wisdom from lessons of other countries, helps craft measures, guides our lifestyles today and promises a better future to hand down to our children.

2 Comments to “Cold comfort to climate change”
  1. vindicator | January 10th, 2013 at 12:52:40

    While Global Warming is a more commonly used to describe anthropogenically caused climate change, it often forms misconceptions that all over the world, temperatures are increasing. The more correct term to describe this inevitable phenomenon should be ‘Global Weirding.’ While some parts of the world may experience peak in temperatures, many of the places would also experience the most extreme temperature dips in their history, in addition to unpredictable precipitation patterns.
    As average global temperature increases, points of high and low air pressure belts will change. This will cause a disruption in global atmospheric circulation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_circulation) patterns leading to unpredictable weather ranges. It is also essential to realize that precipitation becomes more extreme with increase in average temperature i.e. more intense rainfall and snowfall, and followed by more intense draughts.

    In addition, this year is particular, the thermohaline circulation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermohaline_circulation) has been disrupted. The summer months showed rapid melting of the Arctic ice. As more freshwater was released from polar caps, a pool of light freshwater was formed on the surface of Northern Atlantic. This pool of freshwater prevents equatorial warm seawater from displacing the heavy arctic seawater thus breaking the thermohaline circulation. Since there’s no warm equatorial currents reaching the Northern Atlantic, the Arctic belt (Europe in particular) will experience drop in temperatures.

    This is just mother nature’s way of combating out misdeeds.

  2. Simpson | January 10th, 2013 at 12:38:06

    Is it a fiction or scientific story? I felt it as an essay written by a primary school child. Anyways, good that such stories may give room for readers to confuse and mess with the idea of climate change.

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