The Next Decade Can be the Most Important in Human History

The IPCC Report warned that this window of opportunity that we still have is open only till this crucial time of 2018-30. |Image - Spencer Platt

Towards the end of 2018, a special report prepared by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change informed the world that the years 2018-30 will be the most critical time for checking climate change or restricting global warming to 1.5 C.

This means making very sweeping efforts which have never been made earlier, but in order to check climate change before it touches the tipping points stage such unprecedented steps simply have to be made. The IPCC Report warned that this window of opportunity that we still have is open only till this crucial time of 2018-30.

If the colossal efforts we are supposed to make during this period are not made then this small window of opportunity which is still open will also be shut to humanity and it will not be possible to keep climate change within the limits of 1.5 C.

Once the tipping point stage is reached things will simply go beyond human control as far as the most important objective of protecting the life sustaining conditions of our planet are concerned. At the same time a number of other serious environmental problems are fast escalating.

The existing inadequate agreements between the USA and Russia for controls and curbs on nuclear weapons are not being renewed. The risks of accidental use of nuclear weapons are increasing.

Several months have passed since this most important report by a collective of the best recognized scientific expertise on this subject was made, but the world leadership has not yet shown any signs of acting in accordance with the very special responsibility of the most urgent tasks outlined by this report.

Instead what we have seen during these months is the entirely avoidable drift towards increasing conflict in Iran, Venezuela, Yemen, Sudan and other parts of the world.  Most worrying is the fact that tensions among the three leading powers the USA, Russia and China have been increasing in several contexts.

This is happening at a time when all these three countries have invested heavily in further modernization of nuclear weapons. The existing inadequate agreements between the USA and Russia for controls and curbs on nuclear weapons are not being renewed. The risks of accidental use of nuclear weapons are increasing.

The chances of new nuclear weapon powers emerging are higher than before and the risks of very destructive wars breaking out over this issue are very high. At the same time a range of robot weapons or  AI weapons are being developed and these may ultimately prove to be as threatening or even more threatening than nuclear weapons.

Already warning have been voiced by leading experts to check this new arms race which is extremely dangerous but this warning is not being heeded. All the three leading powers are going ahead with big investments in robot weapons.

Hence it is clear that some of the most serious problems which threaten humanity and all forms of life on earth have reached a very critical stage and these need to be attended to now with the greatest urgency. However there are no signs that world leadership is living up to its great responsibility of according this urgency to these most critical problems. Hence there is a strong case of declaring the decade of 2020-30 as the Decade for Saving the Earth and for a campaign relating to this demand ( in short campaign for SED demand).

Once this is declared at world level, this will pave the way for a wide range of educative and creative activities relating to this highly relevant demand, particularly among youth and students, in schools and colleges.

Bharat Dogra is a freelance journalist who has been involved with several social
movements and initiatives. His recent book on survival issues and people’s response
titled Planet in Peril has been published by Vitasta, Delhi.

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