Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Drive away Global Warming

Did you know who the real geniuses in the world are? Not Stephen Hawking, Abdul Kalam or any of our scientists. No... Not you. Obviously, not me. These are our unsung heroes we see every day in life. I bet you wouldn't have scolded anyone else more in your life time. Yet they keep doing their duty with no half measures. They are our very own Indian Auto Drivers. If I told you they are the most environmentally responsible people in the world, will you agree with me? If you think I am joking or being sarcastic, you must read on to appreciate the value they bring to mankind and life on earth in general.

Global Warming is a true threat to earth. The predictions are that the ice caps will melt and many cities would drown in sea. There would be extreme climates with either drought or floods. Onset of an ice age seems possible. Well there are so many movies on this theme and by now everyone is familiar with Global warming. For the rate at which green house gases have increased in earth in the past decades, the raise in temperature should have been much higher than what is observed now. Well, this is where the Indian auto driver has contributed. He helped reduce the effect of global warming to the extent he possibly could. You still don't believe me? Read on.

A quick recap... What is Global warming and Greenhouse effect? Earth will absorb heat from sun and radiate it back. Some gases in earth's atmosphere absorb this heat which earth is radiating and sends it back to earth. So, heat gets trapped in earth's atmosphere and the temperature across earth increases. Ask any scientist how you decrease global warming; they will come up with number of suggestions on how to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. You ask the auto driver this question, he will give you an all together different perspective.

Global warming = sun + greenhouse gas. A scientist tells you how to decrease greenhouse gas. Our auto driver tells you how to reduce sun's brightness. Isn't he a genius? So, how exactly does he achieve this? Use any combustible liquid other than petrol in a petrol engine. This creates a lot of smoke. Smoke is the perfect dimming agent. It makes sure that not all of sun's radiation enters the troposphere. Naturally, there is less heat radiating from sun. Scientists finally re-discovered this effect as Global Dimming; years if not decades after our auto drivers discovered it.

Historically, solutions to westerner's problems were discovered by our ancestors ahead of time. This is a classic case of history repeating itself.

Would you not attribute our monsoons to these noble souls? Aren't they the most environmentally responsible people?

On a serious note, global dimming seems a viable option to reduce the effects of global warming. It is true that greenhouse gas emissions must stop. But, there is enough gases already present to increase global temperature over the next few decades. Scientists say our galaxy has moved to a comparatively cooler neighbourhood, which unfortunately wouldn’t be sufficient to maintain earth’s temperature. Global dimming agents when found in troposphere might combine with rain and cause drastic effects; but when moved to stratosphere, the effects on earth’s surface would be very little to no effect.