Month 11, Day 20: Doin’ The Subcontinental

The San Francisco Chronicle runs an AP story on the likely effects of climate change on India:

A new report says India could be 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 F) warmer than 1970s levels within 20 years — a change that would disrupt rain cycles and wreak havoc on the country’s agriculture and freshwater supplies, experts said Wednesday.

More flooding, more drought and a spreading of malaria would occur, as the disease migrates northward into Kashmir and the Himalayas, according to the report by 220 Indian scientists and 120 research institutions.

Saturday’s letter was written mid-morning on Friday; I am getting ready to fly out to Madison, WI to do a lecture-demonstration on Indian music tomorrow, so I won’t have time to write later today.

As we look towards a future in which global warming alters coastlines, sea levels, storm intensity, monsoon patterns, and the availability of groundwater, it’s painfully evident that the Subcontinent is going to be battered as never before in its long history. A drastic change in any one of the factors listed above would be enough to trigger profound effects; when they’re all happening at once, we’ll get a slow-motion disaster that probably won’t end during our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our children. And, of course, it’s not just India; it’s all of us. The upcoming summit in Cancun is crucial for the world’s survival in the coming decades, but you’d never know it from the discussion of the issue in this country. Now that the party of denial assumes the majority in the House of Representatives, the rest of us will just have to assume the position.

Warren Senders

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