Monday January 22, 2018
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Climate change is upon us, Act now or never

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By Harshmeet Singh

Up till now, the Paris climate change summit has dominated the news stories in the month of December. All the hoopla surrounding the Paris climate change summit is completely justified considering the disastrous impact of climate change that awaits us in the future. If you are still doubtful about the gravity of the issue, the following images might help you in coming to terms with the reality.

polar bear

No image better exemplifies our gloomy future than this image of a polar bear trying to hold on to a fast melting glacier. Over the past 150 years, the average temperature of our planet has increased by 2.5 degrees, thus causing the Antarctica, Greenland and Arctic ice to melt faster than ever, which in turn raises the water levels across the world. This is specially dangerous for low-lying coastal nations which would submerge in the ocean if this trend continues.

climate change

 

drought

According to the scientists, floods and droughts are likely to increase with the increasing global temperatures. Changing patterns of rainfall, such as the one that wrecked havoc in Chennai are likely to become increasingly common.

water scarcity

The issue of fresh water scarcity is likely to assume much greater proportions in the coming years with increase in the melting rates of ice caps.

penguins

The population of polar animals such as penguins is on a constant decline. The population of Adélie penguins of Antarctica has declined to 1/3rd in the last 3 decades.

If these images aren’t enough to put across the challenge of climate change that we are up against, may be we don’t deserve the Earth after all.

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine
Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 3, 2018: Although winegrowers seem reluctant to try new grape varieties apparently to protect the taste of the wines, new research suggests that they will ultimately have to give up on their old habit as planting lesser-known grape varieties might help vineyards to counteract some of the effects of climate change.

vineyards. wikimedia commons

“It’s going to be very hard, given the amount of warming we’ve already committed to… for many regions to continue growing the exact varieties they’ve grown in the past,” said study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, Assistant Professor at Harvard University.

“With continued climate change, certain varieties in certain regions will start to fail — that’s my expectation,” she said.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that wine producers now face a choice — proactively experiment with new varieties, or risk suffering the negative consequences of climate change.

“The Old World has a huge diversity of wine grapes — there are overplanted 1,000 varieties — and some of them are better adapted to hotter climates and have higher drought tolerance than the 12 varieties now making up over 80 per cent of the wine market in many countries,” Wolkovich said.

“We should be studying and exploring these varieties to prepare for climate change,” she added.

Unfortunately, Wolkovich said, convincing wine producers to try different grape varieties is difficult at best, and the reason often comes down to the current concept of terroir.

Terroir is the notion that a wine’s flavour is a reflection of where which and how the grapes were grown.

Thus, as currently understood, only certain traditional or existing varieties are part of each terroir, leaving little room for change.

The industry — both in the traditional winegrowing centres of Europe and around the world — faces hurdles when it comes to making changes, Wolkovich said.

In Europe, she said, growers have the advantage of tremendous diversity.

They have more than 1,000 grape varieties to choose from. Yet strict labelling laws have created restrictions on their ability to take advantage of this diversity.

For example, just three varieties of grapes can be labelled as Champagne or four for Burgundy.

Similar restrictions have been enacted in many European regions – all of which force growers to focus on a small handful of grape varieties.

“The more you are locked into what you have to grow, the less room you have to adapt to climate change,” Wolkovich said.

New World winegrowers, meanwhile, must grapple with the opposite problem — while there are few, if any, restrictions on which grape varieties may be grown in a given region, growers have little experience with the diverse — and potentially more climate change adaptable — varieties of grapes found in Europe, the study said.

Just 12 varieties account for more than 80 per cent of the grapes grown in Australian vineyards, Wolkovich said.

More than 75 per cent of all the grapes grown in China is Cabernet Sauvignon — and the chief reason why has to do with consumers.

“They have all the freedom in the world to import new varieties and think about how to make great wines from a grape variety you’ve never heard of, but they’re not doing it because the consumer hasn’t heard of it,” Wolkovich said. (IANS)