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Warming The Planet Is An Unintentional Crime – OpEd

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Certain Western countries are chiefly responsible for the global warming. They have been warming the planet since the industrialization, which started about 200 years ago. 

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The insatiable thirst by big emitters, which their numbers are increasing, is making the life intolerable in certain arid and semi-arid parts of the world. 

In the 1960s, the evidence for the warming effect of carbon dioxide gas became increasingly convincing. Nobel Prize winner Glenn T. Seaborg, chairperson of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, had warned of the climate crisis in 1966.

The sources of carbon dioxide are many. The chief culprits for warming the Earth are car and aircraft manufacturing companies, oil cartels and power stations fueled by coal. 

Some of these companies have been making hundreds of billions of dollars over long years, yet people, mostly in the Middle East and North and Sub-Saharan Africa, have fallen prey to the greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the last years or decades developing countries, such as China and India, which together house about 2.7 billion population, have also joined other big emitters, especially through coal-fired power plants and rapidly increasing use of fossil fuel cars. 

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China has now emerged as the biggest emitter, surpassing the U.S. According to the data provided by Statista in 2019, India is also the third biggest CO2 emitter, coming after the United States.  

Warming the planet is an unintentional crime. Global warming is sending some people already living in places with low precipitation to the hell. Some rich companies that produce large amounts of emissions may take it for granted.

Countries which were already suffering from low precipitation are now in a bad situation. Their situation has gone from bad to worse.

Somebody whose livestock are dying from lack of water or his farmland is being abandoned due to droughts is a victim of those who have been and are still continuing to warm the planet, and this is nothing less than a crime committed unintentionally. 

A farmer who faces such a situation either get in a conflict over water, if there is any, with others or seek refuge with his family in big cities to earn something to survive. Syria can serve as an example. According to Peace and Justice, many analysts have pointed to the climate-induced drought as the main cause of the disastrous civil war in Syria. 

Miroslav Jenca, the UN assistant secretary-general for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, told a United Nations Security Council meeting in July 2020 that “the climate emergency is a danger to peace.”

Regrettably, oil companies as well as car and airplane producers have been competing over long decades for more profits with little care about environmental consequences. If these companies had really been caring about the environment, they would not have been behaving so carelessly.

Surely, Boeing and Airbus companies, which manufacture technologically advanced aircraft, or auto companies like Chevrolet, GMC, BMW, and Toyota, which produce high-quality cars, would have been able to make their products emission free some decades ago or at least fuel efficient. The technology had existed but there was little or no incentive to do so.

Despite scientific findings it was and is still difficult to convince certain countries, officials and decisionmakers that global warming will make all to suffer. 

For example, Australia and Russia were refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases. Probably the pact seemed like a fiction for them. They were apparently oblivious to the consequences of climate change for others. Perhaps Australia was boasting of its massive farmland with a little population and Russia of its hugely vast cold territory.

However, repeated huge bushfires in Australia in recent years are coming as a wakeup call. Just a few years ago, I accidentally saw with great sorrow a video of two weeping Australian relatives who had hugged each other because they had lost loved ones to the forest fires that had raged through rural houses. 

The case in Russia is disheartening as well. According to The New York Times, for the third year in a row, residents of northeastern Siberia were reeling from the worst wildfires they can remember.

However, on December 14 last year, Russia vetoed the passage of a UN Security Council resolution that for the first time sought to link climate change and global security. 

Now the serious dangers of global warming are at the doors of wealthy states and is wreaking havoc on them. Germany, Canada and the United States are examples. 

The massive floods that inundated parts of central Europe in July killed about 200 people in Germany. Add to these the wildfires in the U.S. and those who died from extreme heatwave in Canada’s Vancouver and the U.S. Pacific Northwest in summer 2021.

 According to a Munich Re report published on January 10, torrential rainfall in Germany in July 2021 cost the country $40 billion. Hurricane Ida in August 2021 in the U.S. also cost $65 billion.

Forest fires in Turkey in July and August 2021 were also unprecedented. Forest fires in Golestan province in northern Iran near the Caspian Sea during the cold month of December is also alarming.

Now certain figures, political parties and industrial companies deny that these calamities are the result of human-caused emissions. The best example was Donald Trump, who even withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. While in office, he called climate change “hoax” and “mythical” and blamed China for creating the “concept of global warming”.

Some other rightists in the West, including some Republicans in Congress, also oppose the Paris climate accord. This is while the U.S. is the chief culprit for the climate change. It lonely accounted for about 30 percent of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions before it was superseded by China nearly three decades ago.

 Writing in the Brookings Institution on May 10, 2021, Samantha Gross, a fellow and director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative, said Republicans in Congress “stand steadfast against serious legislation to deal with climate.”

The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) is also against the Paris climate agreement. Deutsche Welle reported on July 16 last year that MP Karsten Hilse from the AfD told the Welt: “Floods and inundations are natural phenomena.” He claimed human-caused emissions do not play a role.

These political figures and company owners are in conflict with science for political purposes and financial gains. 

Such approach has put the fate of people in some parts of the world in serious jeopardy. The rapid low precipitation over the last 30 years is alarming, at least in some parts of the Middle East. 

The warnings by scientists that global warming leads to droughts and floods is clearly translated into reality in Iran. In March 2019, heavy rainfalls and consequent flooding, especially in northern and western Iran, caused great havocs. 

In that month massive floods washed away houses, roads, bridges and farmlands in some western and southwestern parts of Iran, causing billions of dollars in damages. However, since that rainy March, droughts have intensified and farmers in some areas are quarreling over water.  

The abnormal torrential rainfalls in March 2019 fully filled a dam upstream in western Lorestan province. Even water overflew it. That year Milad Farsi and Mahdi Farsi – two cousins – were irrigating their farmlands from the water flowing from the dam and it continued until the 2020 agricultural year. However, a severe drought in 2021 caused a conflict between the two cousins who are competing in digging wells in a dried river bed to irrigate their farms. 

Who is responsible for torrential rains and repeated droughts? 

Of Course, it should also be noted that according to certain figures Iran now itself ranks 11th in terms of producing greenhouse gases in the world. Sanctions on Iran are partly responsible for this. 

Now the public, especially farmers, are just asking what has happened that rarely we see snowfall in the winter and there is less and less rainfall in the autumn, winter or spring. Some common people even ask: Is this a vengeance by God?  

The companies, industries, or countries which have been warming and are still continuing to warm the planet Earth are indebted to the victims of climate change. They have been unintentionally ruining the lives of large number of people whose life is dependent on farming. If they don’t turn to renewable sources of energy immediately, certain countries may even go to war over water sharing.

*M.A. Saki is a political analyst

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