Queried the most powerful person on the planet on a dry wintry night. And rightfully so. After all, if there is warming, why do we still have winters? Shouldn't they disappear altogether, just like the birds have vanished from the neighbourhood? Not many would be able to comprehend the genius of US President Donald Trump, but now and then, he does raise pertinent questions on climate change, and point out facts that are there to see. Every time there is a fall in temperature, the POTUS is feeling a bit chilly or it is snowing outside, he immediately opines on the issue of global warming by sending out a tweet. It is quite nice, warm and reassuring.
Contrast this with the scientists who tend to talk in scientific mumbo-jumbo, making all those hockey-stick charts, traveling across the world in Business Class, and then preach about carbon emissions. The presentations by these scientists are always scary, since they are always talking about the alarming end, how the tides will come, the cities will drown and so on. There is seldom anything nice or positive in them. Take the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, according to which we have already crossed the "Lakshmana Rekha" of irreversible change. It is akin to moping about the results, once you have gone through the semesters. If what is done is indeed done, why bother trying to fix our ways?
In fact, have you noticed how these smart scientists have deftly shifted from using the term global warming and replaced it with climate change? Indeed, climate change and global warming might mean different things to different people. But then, don't let the difference beguile you, they have shifted the conversation away from global warming, because frankly, there was no warming. There were record snowfalls in the Canadian city of Calgary, and Moscow in Russia. Now, how are we having such record snowfalls if the earth is actually warming up?
By the way, did all those scientists not make tall claims about how the Artic shelf is melting? The earth might be heating up by a few degrees, but if you were to take a thermometer to our neighbouring planets, you will be surprised to find that Mercury is heating up, Venus is very hot already, Jupiter is getting sort of hotter, and even Pluto is showing signs of warming. Now, if all the planets are getting warmer, the answer is pretty obvious, the blame must lie with the sun. You see all those solar flares and the spots, it really has gotten hotter. Previously, you could stand comfortably under the noon-day sun without a bother, but nowadays, it is just so impossible. It has to be the sun for sure, it is the solar cycle. If you notice, it seems oranger that it was a few years ago.
The issue is not that of changing, but is our sensitivity towards the elements. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had alluded to the same fact before he was the prime contender for India's premiership.
It was in 1988, that a NASA scientist James Hansen had testified before the Congress, predicting that the global temperature would go up by 0.45°C between the years 1988-97. Meanwhile, the actual ground-based temperatures only went up by 0.11°C in the same time. The fact that it did go up, doesn't matter when you consider that it was only a quarter of the increase that Hansen predicted. So, how can we believe all those projections now?
The fact is undeniable: the earth hasn't warmed as much as expected. Richard Lindzen had alluded to the same fact in 2002, when he wrote "the impact on the heat budget of the Earth due to the increases in CO2 and other man-influenced greenhouse substances has already reached about 75 percent of what one expects from a doubling of CO2, and the temperature rise seen so far is much less (by a factor of 2-3) than models predict.”
Now, some people might claim that the impacts are over long time-cycles or use fancy terms like thermal inertia, but the fact is that there is not as much change to the climate as was projected. Take, for instance, the rain. One of the things they always scared us with was that monsoons would stop or lessen with time. But on the contrary, are we not getting even more rainfall? Chennai, which was crying for rain, had so much that it turned into a flood. There were floods in Bengaluru, Kerala had record flooding (the most in 100 years) and Gujarat was not spared and so on. Now, if the climate was really changing, how are we still experiencing flooding?
Given the fact that India supports 17 percent of the world’s population on merely 4 percent of global fresh water resources, is more water a good news or actually a bad one?
The honest fact is that nature tends to balance out things. Just look at the millions spent on capturing the polar bears in the Arctic by showing them precariously hanging on to ice-sheets and starving for food. And yet, they have not disappeared, they seemed to have adjusted to the new norm. Or how, despite the jungle cover receding in India, with all that mining and housing, the tiger population is still managing to increase. Recently, we had to kill one, because it had gone rogue. And those elephants, there are so many of them that they keep bumping into innocent trains all the time.
The problem arises when a climate change is confronted with such alternative facts. They tend to throw scores and scores of statistics and numbers, trying to make a point. Fortunately, as Indians we are quite privy to how reports are fudged all the time. Remember how the 2G scam went from lakhs of crores to a couple of zeroes? Similarly, the IPCC report has been proven time and again to be authored by alarmist scientists who wish to save our planet, when no one has actually asked them to. I mean, how can we have them sermonising us about humanity, future and survival, when they falter at even the most basic question even a toddler would know, such as “Is there a God?”
Speaking about God, considering that he (or she, or even it) exists, why should we bother about these things? In all religions, we have instances of the great flood when humanity gets wiped out, only to come back again. There was Noah in the Bible, and that big fish in the Dasha Avatar, and so on. We tend to go through these cycles and come out of them unscathed. In the end, it is actually good karma that gets you a good afterlife.
Climate change is still a contested fact, let’s not live in denial. Indeed, 97 percent of scientists might concur on the issue, or the biggest minds might have warned about it, or we might see a few signs now and then. Let’s bide our time, let’s rake the snow, lets enjoy the chill, enjoy the birds and bees. The climate is meant to change, thank God for that – imagine a perennial summer like that of Delhi, or a rainy one like that in Mumbai. So, let’s celebrate climate change, and while we are at it, let’s raise a toast for President Trump for finally bringing about a change, for undoing all that was not yet done, or could have been.
Shashwat DC is Features Editor at CNBC-TV18. He is closet-activist for sustainability and CSR, when not pondering over the future of humanity or contemplating the launch of the new Android phone.