The Global Apocalypse of
Global warming has long been an existential threat and a daunting challenge to the planet Earth with its devastating impacts. The menace of climate change has been triggered by many a factor, such as excessive greenhouse gas emissions, use of non-renewable energy sources, deforestation and other anthropogenic activities. With all the above-cited factors, the Earth gets warmer, which leads to change in climatic patterns. The looming apocalypse has not only affected ecosystem, biodiversity and carrying capacity of the Earth, but has also massively impacted the overall human life cycle. Of the consequences with potential threats, the planet Earth has regularly been bearing the brunt of wildfires. The most recent and gruesome wildfires of Turkey, Greece, Algeria and other parts of Europe and America are witnessing climate change as a global apocalypse.
Global Warming: Definition and Concept
Simply, global warming is a phenomenon of an increase in the average temperature of the Earth. The concept of global warming maintains that the burning of fossil fuels enhances the levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs)—gases that warm the Earth’s surface. It was first proposed in the early nineteenth century, after the discovery of carbon dioxide, oxygen and other gases that make up the atmosphere. In the twentieth century, most scientists did not take global warming seriously and neglected its impacts. But since the dawn of the twenty-first century, this issue is being increasingly taken as the most gruesome challenges our climate is faced with.
Recent IPCC Report
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently released its Sixth Assessment Report (Ar6), which underlines shocking results of climate change patterns. In this report, the IPCC has warned that climate will continue to warm the Earth and, it will result in catastrophic consequences. The report further depicts that the temperature of the Earth is rapidly rising due to anthropogenic activities. It has drawn attention to extreme weather changes, such as hazardous winds, cloud bursts, floods, wildfires, tropical cyclones, sea-level rise and other manifestations. AR6, which is no less than a red signal, is pertinent especially for the big economies like the United States and China, to reduce their GHG emissions to save the Earth from devastating impacts of global warming.
Recent wildfires across continents further bear testimony to the fact that global warming is an apocalypse, leading human life and ecological biodiversity to devastation. Italy, Greece, Spain, Australia, Algeria and Turkey have seen raging wildfires during the past few weeks. Since forests, according to an assessment by World Resources Institute (WRI), absorb 7.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide globally, one can imagine how colossal a loss wildfires cause to the environment.
Turkey is extremely vulnerable to wildfire due to dry and hot air combined with low humidity. The recent wildfires in Turkey have been labelled as ‘the worst in its history’ by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the European Forest Fire Information System, “About 175,000 hectares have been burned so far this year.” The fires have caused a massive devastation and rendered people homeless. The very climatic situation calls for robust policies to reduce GHG emissions.
Wildfires in Greece began in early August 2021 and have wreaked havoc there. The widespread fires have burned a whopping number of homes. Many villages and towns have been evacuated, leading the residents homeless and helpless. The wildfires are said to be the consequence of extreme heatwave in Greece with the highest temperature recorded 47.1°C (116.8°F). The wildfires have engulfed Attica, Olympia, Messenia, and the most grossly affected northern Euboea. Estimates suggest that 115,000 hectares of forest and arable land has been burnt so far with over 50,000 hectares burnt in northern Euboea alone.
The once-verdant mountains of the Algerian region of Tizi Ouzou, peppered with olive groves and coniferous trees, were ravaged by more than 100 forest fires over the month of August 2021. People lost their homes and livestock. Families who found themselves on the street with little or no possessions had to move into hotels, hostels and schools repurposed to provide emergency accommodation. The unprecedented death toll – significantly higher than the ones recorded in other countries in the region experiencing similar fires – led President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to decree three days of national mourning for the victims. The president also announced that his government will compensate those affected. The widespread conviction in the country that arsonists were behind the fires also led to the sidelining of a factor that undoubtedly played a leading role in bringing about the fires: climate change. Indeed, climate change is intensifying droughts and creating the perfect conditions for wildfires to spread and cause unprecedented environmental, material and human damage across the region. Earlier this month, the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said the Mediterranean has become a “wildfire hotspot” due to climate change, warning that many more such fires may be experienced in the future. The recent devastating wildfires in Greece and Turkey further confirmed that the increased impact of wildfires in Algeria is not only a result of domestic problems but part of a global environmental crisis.
Wildfires have hit Aspromonte mountain range in Calabria, southern Italy, where most farmers live. The people in the area faced the worst-ever heat-waves due to forest fires rage for the 10th day in a row. BBC reported, “The Italian island of Sicily may have registered the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe – 48.8°C (119.8°F)”. In the hottest temperature, five people were dead: four in Calabria and one in Sicily. In a nutshell, Italy has experienced the most lethal scenario during the worst wildfires.
California is presently facing a colossal situation of wildfire, which is one of the second largest wildfires in its history. According to the California Office of Emergency Services more than 10,000 people have evacuated across Tehama, Sikiyou, Trinity, Lassen and Plumas counties due to worsening circumstances of wildfires. Last year, the country faced the worst wildfire with a record-setting year. Amid the wildfire last year, a perfect prediction was made by Dr Susan Prichard, from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, “We now have the conflagrations in California that we feared, following the record-setting heatwaves. Given that California wildfires have burned all the way into November in recent years, I’m afraid that we might be set up for another record-breaking fire season.” Undeniably, owing to anthropogenic activities of using maximum greenhouse gases, her prediction proved this year with another record-setting wildfire.
Adaptation and Mitigation
Global warming has widespread repercussions on the planet with excessive heat-waves, wildfires, floods and droughts. It has dismantled ecological biodiversity, caused loss of life and property, affected agro-forestry and raised sea level, which result into catastrophic consequences. Therefore, it is high time the global organizations coordinated with world governments drafted robust and concrete policies to counter the tantalizing matter. Implementation of treaties and abiding set-rules in those conventions are prerequisite tools to halt such global warming menaces. As the IPCC report rightly depicts, the emerging issues of climate change can still be mended by reducing anthropogenic activities, such as excessive use of fossil fuels. Adaptation and mitigation are two most important factors, which can contribute existential impact on minimizing heat-waves and global warming patterns. Mitigation through decreasing the use of greenhouse gas emissions, adopting renewable energy sources and taking keen interest in reforestation and afforestation are some key components of countering global warming.
No doubt, the countries across the northern hemisphere are experiencing the worst wildfires ever recorded in history. Most of the environmental scientists claim that such catastrophes are triggered due to human activities, including the consumption of a large amount of greenhouse gases, which contribute in warming the planet and, thereby, result into heat-waves. There is no denying the fact that the world is experiencing the devastating effects of global warming with maximum drawbacks in each passing day. Controlling the menace of climate change and delaying the temperature of the Earth up to 1.5°C are need of the hour to make our planet safe and sound from the devouring episodes. Besides, there is a need of utilizing environment-friendly and ecological-sound energy so that the trapping of greenhouse gas emissions get minimized and halted. There is still an opportunity to counter the implications of global warming, if the world recognizes the issue seriously and takes prudent measures to mitigate it. Temperatures will continue to rise and droughts will skyrocket, which will inevitably trigger more fires and destruction. The problem is currently knocking the doors of developing as well as developed states to wake them up for securing the earth from further deterioration. Prudent and herculean efforts are needed to overcome the menace.
The warming in the average temperature of the earth leads the global dynamics of nature into gruesome apocalypses. Climate change, a phenomenon of increasing heat-waves, has almost affected all the segments of socioeconomic, ecological and human lifecycle of the world. It has wreaked havoc in the recent long-lasting and fatal wildfires across the globe. However, the IPCC report underlines one of the thought-provoking conclusions that humans are unequivocally responsible for global warming, which has directly led to the greatest global warming catastrophic events, such as abovementioned countries caught under massive wildfires. According to Prof. Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading, UK, and one of the report’s authors, the scientists cannot be any clearer on this point. “It is a statement of fact, we cannot be any more certain; it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet.”
The writer has done his Master’s in International Relations from the University of Karachi.