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Drought is a hidden global crisis that risks becoming "the next pandemic" if countries do not take urgent action on their water and land management. A recent UN report, says that at least 1.5 billion people have been directly affected by drought during the current century, and its economic cost has been estimated at $124bn. The true cost is likely to be many times higher as estimates do not include much of the impact in developing countries.
The report entitled Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk reduction: Special Report on Drought 2021 published earlier this month will be part of discussions at the next climate talks known as COP26, which are scheduled to take place in Glasgow, the UK in November. Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary general's special representative for disaster risk reduction in the foreword of the report says that drought is on the verge of becoming the next pandemic and there is no vaccine to cure it. Most of the world will be living with water stress in the next few years. Demand will outstrip supply during certain periods. Drought is a major factor in land degradation and the decline of yields for major crops.
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She says many people had an image of drought as affecting desert regions in Africa, but that this was not the case. Drought is now widespread, and by the end of the century, all but a handful of countries will experience it in some form. She further says that people have been living with drought for 5,000 years, but what we are seeing now is very different. Human activities are exacerbating drought and increasing the impact, threatening to derail progress on lifting people from poverty. Developed countries too have not been immune to drought. The US, Australia, and southern Europe have experienced drought in recent years. Drought costs more than $6bn a year in direct impacts in the US, and about ï¿½9bn (ï¿½7.7bn) in the EU.
A senior scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a co-author of the report, Roger Pulwarty has been quoted as saying that drought also goes beyond agriculture. He gives the example of the River Danube in Europe, where recurring drought has affected transport, tourism, industry, and energy generation. He further opines that we need to have a look at how to manage resources such as rivers and large water basins. A common scientific theory opines that changing rainfall patterns as a result of climate breakdown is a key driver of drought, but the report also identifies the inefficient use of water resources and the degradation of land under intensive agriculture and poor farming practices as playing a major role. Deforestation, overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, overgrazing, and over-extraction of water for farming are also major problems, identified in the report.
Mizutori has called for governments to take action to help prevent drought by reforming and regulating how water is extracted, stored and used, and how land is managed. She says early warning systems could do much to help people in danger. She stressed working with local people and techniques, as local and indigenous knowledge could help to inform where and how to store water and how to predict the impact of dry periods.
Meanwhile, in another related alarm scientists from NASA and NOAA say that earth's ï¿½energy imbalance' roughly doubled from 2005 to 2019 in an ï¿½alarming' manner. According to new research, details of which were released earlier this month, the earth is trapping nearly twice as much heat as it did in 2005, described as an ï¿½unprecedented' increase amid the climate crisis.
'Energy imbalance' refers to the difference between how much of the Sun's 'radiative energy' is absorbed by Earth's atmosphere and surface, compared to how much 'thermal infrared radiation' bounces back into space. In a statement about this study, NASA said that "A positive energy imbalance means the Earth system is gaining energy, causing the planet to heat up, and the trends we found were quite alarming in a sense".
Any increase in greenhouse gas emissions keeps heat in the earth's atmosphere, trapping radiation that would otherwise move into space. This warming spurs other changes, including ice and snowmelt. Any increase in water vapor, and changes to clouds, could further exacerbate this warming, NASA says. The study found that this doubling is the result, in part, of an increase in greenhouse gases and water vapor, as well as decreases in clouds and ice. Researchers also said that a naturally occurring shift in the Pacific Ocean from a cool phase to a warm one probably had a significant role in amplifying this energy imbalance. The study also determined that unless the rate of heat uptake slows, greater shifts in climate patterns should be expected.
Some cheer for activists
On the other hand, is a historical judgment, a Belgian court has ruled that Belgium's climate failures violate human rights. In the latest legal victory against public authorities that have broken promises to tackle the climate emergency, Belgian Judges said state's failure to meet climate targets breaches civil law and human rights convention. The Brussels court of the first instance declared the Belgian state had committed an offense under Belgian's civil law and breached the European convention on human rights.
By not taking all "necessary measures" to prevent the "detrimental" effects of climate change, the court said, Belgian authorities had breached the right to life (Article 2) and the right to respect for private and family life (Article 8). The NGO, Klimaatzaak - which means climate case in Dutch, and which brought the case hailed the judgment as historic, both in the nature of the decision and the court's recognition of 58,000 citizens as co-plaintiffs.
The legal victory in Belgium follows similar rulings in the Netherlands, Germany, and France, where judges have condemned governments for inadequate responses to the climate crisis or failing to keep their promises. According to the European Commission, Belgium the first continental European country to undergo the industrial revolution is on track to miss its emission reduction targets for 2030. What all these three news put together means is that the Climate Change threat is really more dangerous and omnipresent. Until and unless the world's leaders act in unison and honor their commitment to raise and spend $100 billion, to tackle the threat as per the Paris Agreement and take some coordinated and concerted measures at Glasgow, we may face a dire threat to the human race. (IANS/JC)
By Nimerta C Sharan
Your monthly round up of the latest lifestyle launches, from luxury indulgences to artisanal creations, here's what you can look forward to :
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags 'Artycapucines - Chapter 3'. Six internationally -- acclaimed artists have transformed the black canvas of the timeless Capucines bag into beautiful art pieces. Each bag will be available in a limited edition of 200 and will be released worldwide at the end of October 2021.
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags. | Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Add To Cart
Looking for a quick festive fashion fix for you and your loved ones? E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. The shopping platform has roped in stylista Sonam Kapoor as the face of the sale that will offer more than 2500 brands at discounted prices.
E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. | Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash
The country's leading design house, Good Earth, in collaboration with textile designer Madeline Weinrib will present its collection of 'butah' motif dinnerware and home textiles at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York. The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe.
The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe. | Photo by Jean Vella on Unsplash
Sweet dreams are made of this! Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. Spread over three floors, the bakery currently has twelve macaron flavours, their signature pastries and tea cakes and other brunch and high-tea items on the menu. Bon appetit.
Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. | Pixabay
Bright And Beautiful
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. Inspired by the richness and diversity of Rajasthan, the collection consists of organza and silk saris and shararas, gota lehengas and kurtas and embroidered odhnis. The colours and silhouettes are just right for the upcoming festive season. (IANS/ MBI)
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. | Photo by Souravi Sinha on Unsplash
Keywords: Lifestle, AJIO, sale, Deepika PAdukone, saris, Motifs, artisan, art
Actress Kangana Ranaut has talked about how her weight adjustments for her latest 'Thalaivii' that "messed up many things" in her body and left her with "permanent stretch marks". For her role in the film, based on the life of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former actress J. Jayalalithaa, Kangana had to gain 20kg and undergo major physical transformation several times.
She took to Instagram to share her experience, detailing that doing all that over the six months period left her with "permanent stretch marks". "Gaining 20 kgs in 6 months and loosing it all within 6 months that too in my thirties messed up many things in my bodya I also have permanent stretch marks as well but art comes to life with a price and more often than not price is the artist him/herself," she wrote.
"Thalaivii" showcases the varied aspects of Jayalalithaa's life, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema, as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader who changed the course of the state's politics. Talking about her upcoming works, Kangana currently has 'Dhaakad'.
She is also shooting for her next 'Tejas', where she plays a fighter pilot. The Indian Air Force was the first of the country's defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from the landmark event. 'Tejas' is directed by debutant Sarvesh Mewara. The film will be RSVP's second film which pays a tribute to the Indian military after the immensely successful film "Uri: The Surgical Strike" which was released in January 2019. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kangana Ranaut, Thalaivii, bollywood, stretc marks, actress, tamil cinema
Signal's encrypted messaging app continues to be down on Monday after facing global outage on Sunday. The firm said it is working to fix it. "Hold tight, folks! Signal is currently down, due to a hosting outage affecting parts of our service. We're working on bringing it back up," the firm said in a tweet on Sunday.
The status website says the encrypted messaging app is "experiencing technical difficulties" and many people are also getting an in-app error message that says the same thing. Signal allows for secure and encrypted video, voice and text communication, but users are unable to send any messages.
According to Downdetector.com, users started reporting outages around 11:05 PM Eastern Standard Time and it appears to be affecting people around the world. Comments shared on Downdetector.com indicates that Signal was down for users from India, US, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and many other countries.
"Down in Midwest USA. Signal was started by people connected to which secret 3-letter organization? (Look it up) Yep, that's right! An app disguised a privacy app to trick you into sharing more private information than you would with another messaging app," a user said. "I think Signal is having a rough day. Good luck, Team Signal. I'm sure you'll have it sorted out in a snap," said another. The encrypted messaging service has climbed to the top spot in the free apps category of the App Store in multiple countries, including India. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Signal, app, encrypted, messages, outage, down