Which is the Inconvenient Truth?

The tallest man in the world is not only taller than anyone else; he also stands higher than many islands in the Republic of Seychelles and other similar sand cays and coralline islands from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Many small island states are made up entirely of these low lying coral islands. Experts say that a strong storm surge coupled with sea level rise may be enough to wipe these countries from the face of the map.

And the problem is not only sea level rise. The movie The Day after Tomorrow depicted with graphic special effects how climate change could suddenly plunge the world into another Ice Age. The climate change scenario was exaggerated to achieve the typical Hollywood thrills and chills. But now Al Gore’s Oscar winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, lays out a similar state of affairs where Europe turns into a frozen wasteland and coastal cities from New York to Beijing are completely submerged.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently issued its new report which again warns that human activities are changing the climate. But the report does not say that the world is imminently in danger from another Ice Age.  The new report also estimates a rise of about 38.5cm in sea levels by 2100. This is far from Al Gore’s catastrophic 6 metre rise.

Global warming and anticipated sea level rise, sea surface temperature increases and other related phenomena are real. No one in their right minds can argue against it. But those who exaggerate the problem and scare the living daylights out of people may be as guilty as those who say that human activities are not to blame for global warming

Climate change is a very complicated issue and it is not easy to depict it in terms understandable by all. But many around the world are feeling the impacts and do not need to read the IPCC report or see the Al Gore movie.

The Inuit people around the Arctic Circle are using air conditioners for the first time and  do not have enough hard-packed snow to build their famous igloos. Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit born in the Canadian Arctic, says that climate change is a violation of human rights for people in coastal states and low-lying areas all over the world. And she blames the government of the United States.

It is probably only a matter of time before a rights-based law suit against the biggest emitter of green house gases, the United States, is lodged successfully in an American court. When that happens it will be facts that speak for themselves, not exaggerations that could be refuted with scientific proof. The future is grim enough without exaggerated nightmare scenarios being played out on our screens.

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