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India as a Macro Microcosm of the Future

India combines many attributes that make it, if not representative of all nations, extraordinarily important and illustrative of many of the problems the world faces and on a scale that affects the entire world. Additionally, many of its problems are so extreme that they magnify the need for deep and broad solutions rather than patches.

There is no single example that brings it all together so I have chosen several that give
a sense of the problems the world faces. The first part is based on an article from the website YALE 360 ENVIRONMENT. Its present day example is sea level rise. Its overriding theme is of the long term effects (centuries and mellenia) that we are creating by our present practices.

Our Moral Responsibility to the Future of Humanity

"The ‘Forever Legacy’ of Climate Change"

"Climate change projections often focus on 2100. But the geological record shows that unless we rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will be locking in drastic increases in temperatures and sea levels that will alter the earth not just for centuries, but for millennia."
BY ROB WILDER AND DAN KAMMEN • SEPTEMBER 12, 2017, YALE 360 ENVIRONMENT
ZUMA PRESS/ALAMY

"Sea level rise has shrunk India's Ghoramara Island
from nearly 8 square miles to 2 square miles."

YALE 360 ENVIRONMENT

FromThe Forever Legacy of Climate Change by Rob Wilder and Dan Kammen

"A century or two from now, people may look back at our current era — with its record-breaking high temperatures year after year, rapid disappearance of Arctic sea ice, and gradually rising sea levels — as part of a much cooler and far more desirable past. The spate of extreme weather events in the past month — which have devastated America’s fourth-largest city, Houston; spawned a massive hurricane that tore through the Caribbean and Florida; and swamped large swaths of India and Bangladesh — may well be a prelude to more monster hurricanes, Biblical rain events, and coastal inundations brought about by extreme weather and vastly higher sea levels.

"If getting the public, the media, and politicians to pay attention to what might happen to our planet in 2100 seems hard enough, it’s even more difficult to focus on how high — according to the latest research — sea levels may be only a couple of centuries in the future. Yet recent findings lend urgency to the need to contemplate what the world might look like 200 or 300 years from now if greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control. “Urgent” may seem like a wildly inappropriate word when applied to such a long span of time, but the truth is that humanity’s continuing failure to bring our enormous carbon emissions under control will have planet-altering impacts that could continue not just for hundreds, but thousands, of years."

India is making a herculian effort to reduce its emissions but despite square miles of solar energy and a target of 100 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 India's growth will be such that all its coal generation will remain on line, and at the end of this phase there will be no net reduction of emissions. This bodes poorly for success in holding the earths temperature. (Note that one gigawatt is approximately the output capabiity of a typical large nuclear plant. It also leaves unsolved the problem of energy storaage when the sun is not shining.

It will cost on the order of $20 trillian by the end of this century

to moderate temperature rise as rapidly as is practical.
The cost must be born by the wealthly nations who created the problem
and have the resources needed.

Countries such as India, who have contributed far less to the problem,
and do not have sufficient resources to help in the solution would suffer the most.

It is the greatest moral challenge in the entire history of human civilization.

And while the billionaires of the world fiddle with their stunning extravgances and argue
over self-serving ideologies, the earth burns.

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