Thursday, December 08, 2005

Was Nature Partial?

Back home for the winter vacation, I delve into my bag finding this paper cutting dated 18th of November. It was not just another article on global warming, the author was trying to say something, yet he was too careful in choosing his words. I read it twice and the whole plot unfolded to this.
A recent report form the Journal Nature says that “the least polluting countries would become the easiest preys to the global warming caused by more polluting countries”. The term “least polluting countries” does not point to those which have strict rules in industrial norms (since there is virtually no such country) but it refers to the poorest countries. These nations would face dramatic increase in deaths form disease and malnutrition as a direct result of climate change driven by wealthier, more polluting countries. Scientists expect a doubling of deaths form malaria diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition by 2030.
Upon drawing a map showing how climate change would affect different regions of the world, it emerges to show the least wealthy countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions as the most vulnerable. And horribly these are the countries that lie in the TROPICS. Regions of highest risk included coastlines of Pacific, INDIAN oceans and sub-Saharan Africa.
At the University of Wisconsin, Prof. Jonathan Patz says “The map shows that the health impact of climate change disproportionately affects poorer countries that in my view have no responsibility for global warming. It’s completely unethical and it cannot be ignored”.
Forecasts of climate change also predict more erratic weather patterns wreaking havoc with subsistence farming (about 3 quarters of INDIAN agriculture is of this type) adding to the burden of malnutrition.
And hardest of all truth is that, this report comes two weeks before the Kyoto protocol meet and United States, which emits 24% of world’s greenhouse gases (making it the most polluting country) has refused to sign up on grounds that it would hamper its financial growth. (Kyoto protocol specifies the norms for industries with relevance to mitigating global warming).

Well pushing aside the politics played by those wealthy countries, the one thing that deeply disturbs me is the fact that TROPICAL countries are the most hit. When I consulted an Evolutionary Biologist regarding this article, I found that Tropical countries were in fact meant to be poor and they would never become a developed country. Shocked? Well yes, this was the explanation he gave. (Think of humans as mere animals all through the explanation).
Life on Earth emerged first in the tropics which is a region with a lot of dynamic changes in climate. This subsequently resulted in a lot of evolution, mutation and survival of the fittest. Meanwhile when there was fierce competition for food and life in the tropics, the temperate (present wealthy countries) remained to be barren deserts. Slowly and steadily some part of the well evolved species (perhaps humans) migrated to the tropics forecasting a prosperous future. The resources in those regions were wild and wide that almost the poorest should have been richer than the counterparts in the tropics. Since species with similar opinions migrated in groups, they had little diversity in lifestyle, which is quite conspicuous in present wealthy countries.
In the tropics, where there was a lot of competition for food and shelter, the species spent most of the energy in procuring food and reproducing so as to sustain its race, while those at the temperate had everything in surplus leaving behind a lot of time for a lot of other activities.
Now after 40,000 years the temperate countries wealthier right form the beginning of the game are jerking off poisonous gases which as a result are going to prey upon the good old tropical countries where the same species is still starving for food…! Is it not agonizing?. And all this because life emerged in the tropics.

Is mother Nature really partial?