Earth: A likely series of unfortunate events

By Shivang Arora
From HR College, Mumbai
Posted Oct 13th 2013 7:00AM
Earth: A likely series of unfortunate events
Various theories have sprung up, numerous movies and documentaries have been made but the grave issue with regards to over exploitation of Mother Nature leading to catastrophic events seems to not throw the right impact upon us.

For years scientists and geologists have warned that the excessive carbon dioxide emissions have led to global warming and the continuous rise in temperatures could bring nothing but catastrophe to our planet. As per a recent research by the University of Hawaii, shocking predictions have been made about nearly 10 cities in India itself that shall witness temperatures which historical extremes have not yet exceeded in the past 150 years. The list begins with Mumbai which will reach temperatures much higher by the year 2034 and unfortunately scientists have also predicted that these climatic changes will prevail with no turning back possibilities. Other cities on the list include Chennai, Pune, Surat, New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Lord Martin Rees, a British cosmologist and astrophysicist who has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 has publicly voiced out his pessimism that global carbon dioxide emission cannot be reduced to safe levels within the next 20 years. He, along with the co-founder of Skype, Prof. Stephen Hawking and a group of such echelons have also prepared an agenda of all the probable catastrophes, our planet could endure in future. Of course these include the risks of ecological disasters due to asteroid impacts and climatic changes like the one foreseen now and the consequent food shortages and pandemics due to ever increasing world population.

Broadening their scope to man made threats, the group has also enlisted the human induced threats like the risks from cyber attacks on our finance, power and transport networks, then engineered viruses that could create havoc and also the probability of a network of computers developing a mind of their own like the 'Skynet' as shown in the Terminator movies.

Apart from these the global political turmoil's leading to nuclear wars is also a close possibility considering the recent Syria and US stand-off could have triggered one. Chemical weapons, nature's wrath in the form of cyclones, tsunamis, typhoons, and earthquakes are some very prominent events that could be occurring in the near future.

Commenting about this list in a recent British Science Festival, Lord Rees elaborated that, "Though some would dismiss these concerns as an exaggerated Jeremiad, after all, societies have survived for millennia, despite storms, earthquakes and pestilence. However these human-induced threats are different and are newly emerged so we have limited timescale for exposure to them and can't be so sanguine about our abilities if disaster strikes."
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