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War, an ecocide

War, an ecocide

A figure that came out the other day didn't get the attention it deserved. The European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service has confirmed that 2023 was the hottest year in Earth's history and that 2024 will be even hotter. Last year was the hottest in the last 173 years since the earth's temperature has been recorded. In 2023, Earth's average temperature was 14.98 degrees Celsius, beating the 2016 record of 14.81 degrees Celsius. Last month was the hottest December on record globally. Although there are no recorded data, scientists assume that the past year was the hottest in one lakh years. The scientific limit set by experts stating that the temperature could increase by only up to one and a half degrees compared to the pre-industrial revolution levels was due to foreseeing the years of air pollution ahead. However, the European Centre also issued a dire warning that the 1.5-degree limit is likely to be exceeded in the 12-month period ending next month (February). One reason for such extreme heat is the El Niño phenomenon; and as it ends, there may be a decrease in heat. But the fact remains that the main cause of global warming is man-made pollution. The ten hottest years on Earth have been since 2010; none of which was caused by El Niño.

The conviction that the climate crisis is a global problem and that its solution is possible only through global efforts is what led to the creation of special systems under the United Nations and the organisation of climate summits called 'COP'. However, no amount of these convictions and efforts seems to have any influence on the policies of the world nations. Like the destruction of the Amazon forests, the significant melting of Himalayan glaciers stands as the biggest indicator of nature exploitation. Brazil has not let up on its relentless exploitation of the Amazon. The significant melting of snow in the Himalayas is also causing alarm. Even in this critical situation, the Supreme Court’s decision to set aside the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banning large-scale construction projects in Shimla, adds to the apprehension. Environmental destruction was largely responsible for the ferocity of the floods that devastated Himachal last August. Now, the highest court itself has given a green light to those who cause havoc. Such misguided moves are occurring in various countries at a crucial time when every region should be dedicating each day to environmental recovery.

Climate summits are held regularly as a routine practice. However, the national leaderships lack caution regarding the remedial measures before and after these summits. It is surprising that neither war, which inflict the greatest harm on the climate and mankind, nor its morals are even considered a factor in climate planning. Last month, the COP 28 climate summit was held in Dubai amid the Gaza war. Subsequently, the countries where the arms manufacturers have a decisive influence are trying to escalate the conflict. Yet, the war which is a ‘climate villain’, was not even a topic of discussion during the summit. The US military alone emits 1.2 billion metric tons of polluted gases each year. The destruction caused by the war is apart from this. It significantly pollutes water, air and soil and causes extensive damage to loss of biodiversity and habitat. Israel, which breaks records in ecocide, just as it does in the massacre, dropped bombs in Gaza that are three times more toxic than the one dropped by the US on Hiroshima. Those who think that all this impacts Gaza alone are deluding themselves. Ecocide is as inhumane as genocide. White phosphorus causes widespread pollution that can result in diseases and food shortages. In reality, the full extent of the environmental damage caused by Israel is yet to be determined. At least the lesson, that violence and injustice that take place anywhere impact the entire earth, should have fuelled the peace efforts.

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TAGS:Global warmingClimate crisisEditorialEcocideGaza warCOP 28Israeli bombs
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