those of countless unsung others — are beginning to pay off. I’ve been feeling rather cold for the past month. In fact, very cold. My legs are often frozen all the way up to my unmentionables. I have to drink a stiff vodka before I can work up the courage to enter the bathroom in the morning. In other words, the part of the globe I live in — Delhi — has not exactly been hot.
However I am only a layman, and I believe in experts, so I didn’t buy a heater. In fact, I even postponed buying a new sweater. Surely global warming can’t have turned tail already, I kept telling myself. The Himalayan glaciers are melting. Soon, it will be warm. Next year, Delhi will probably have no winter, and I will have to walk to office to reduce my carbon footprint and bring the fog back. The year after that, we may even celebrate New Year’s by the beach in Gurgaon, since as you know, sea levels are rising alarmingly.
Now I’m a little mortified to read that the glaciers may not be melting after all. What’s more, a bunch of scientists I had not heard of before are saying an ice age could be on its way. This winter has been bitterly cold across the northern hemisphere, and the hitherto unheard of gurus of climate change are saying it’s only the start of a cooling trend.
A Russian astronomer named Khabibullo Abdusamatov from St Petersburg has predicted the next ice age will start between 2035 and 2045 due to a decline in solar activity. He also says the warming trend in recent years was simply because the sun was pumping out more heat. Apparently, the sun has its hot and cold periods. Abdusamatov’s not a fan of carbon trading, I think.
Less Russian sources — like, for example, the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado — have reported a jump in the Arctic summer sea ice by 26 per cent over the past two years. It had hit a low in 2007, but has recovered spectacularly since. And this was before Copenhagen, before I even started walking to the grocer’s.
“Just months — that’s how long it took for Europe to be engulfed by an ice age. The scenario, which comes straight out of Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, was revealed by the most precise record of the climate from palaeohistory ever generated,” said New Scientist last November.
The most precise record of the climate showed that 12,800 years ago there was an ice age funky scientists call the Big Freeze. It froze up most of the northern hemisphere in less than a year. The scientists from Canada who carried out the study said the effect would be like “taking Ireland and moving it up to Svalbard in the Arctic”. I guess if we moved Delhi by a few notches less than that, we’d end up in cool, scenic Ladakh.
Thing is, now I’m no longer sure what I should do for the planet. How do I make the world a better place today? Should I try to warm it because an ice age is coming, or cool it because global warming is upon us?
I think for starters I will throw an uttapam at a scientist today.