The Punjabi language is very expressive though difficult to translate at times. I tried to find an equivalent to “Rabb naray ke ghusan?” but the impact was not there. For my readers who don’t speak Punjabi “Is God closer or the punch coming your way” is the closest I can get. It came to my mind while watching the images of recent tornadoes flattening everything in their way in the Midwest States in the US. We have invited the wrath of God by indulging in extreme excesses since the last century. Its impact is getting more pronounced each day. Our Holy Book repeatedly warns against extravagance, waste, and excessive indulgence. However, human nature is full of flaws. Greed, desire for comfort, and pleasure are far more tempting than maintaining balance and self-control. Ignorance plays a huge part in this equation. Mother Nature has created a fine balance between various elements that come together to constitute our world. Sun keeps us warm, water keeps us hydrated, we breathe the air to survive, trees give shade and earth provides us food. If we disturb this delicate balance it turns into wildfires, floods, tornadoes, cyclones, and droughts. The wrath of God that we have incurred is not just out of belief; it is backed by science. The wrath of God that we have incurred is not just out of belief; it is backed by science. It monitors these drastic changes and researches them to understand. It helps to predict the trajectory and consequences we will face if we continue on the same path. Humans embarked on this disastrous path in the 1800s with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. We derived energy required to power the industries by burning coal, followed by fossil fuels. Subsequently, the innovation of automobiles in the early 20th century increased emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other pollutants released into the atmosphere. These emissions were named greenhouse gases because they formed a halo around the earth, thus restricting the release of heat. During this century there was a meteoric rise in greenhouse gas emissions that led to higher temperatures termed global warming. Let’s give a perspective to this journey towards self-annihilation. Scientists have determined that during the first 18 centuries after Christ, the increase in global temperature was only a quarter percent. It jumped to 1.5% in 2020. It is estimated that in 2018 alone CO2 emissions were equivalent to 52 billion tons! It is the worst deterioration than any known event in history. A deep dive into the scientific background may not be interesting. Simply put, the earth absorbs sunlight and radiates it as heat by warming the air. This warm air rises into the stratosphere. This release is obstructed by layers formed by greenhouse gases preventing heat from escaping. This causes devastation at two levels. It depletes the ozone layer surrounding the earth and raises the temperature. Temperatures shot up so drastically in the 21st century that scientists now have pronounced it as CLIMATE CRISIS OR EMERGENCY. It is termed Global Heating rather than warming. How is it manifesting itself in real terms? It is causing a rise in sea levels that will drown low-lying coastlines and islands. It is leading to weather extremes in summers and winters. Historically, the snow cover in the Arctic and the South Pole played an important role in reflecting sunlight back into the atmosphere. This snow cover is fast depleting with melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Iceland. It is leading to the extinction of many animal species. Global warming leads to deserts expanding, and droughts causing water shortages. It causes a reduction in food production, economic hardships, and human migration. Extreme heat leads to drying foliage in forests, which are highly combustible leading to wildfires burning down millions of acres of tree cover. It causes human displacement, air pollution, and an increase in disease. Health authorities have termed it as the greatest threat to global health. Climate change causes huge atmospheric disturbances and distortions. It leads to cyclones developing over water. They hit land on various continents causing floods and devastating winds that destroy settlements, infrastructure, and loss of human lives. It also causes tornadoes to develop over land, which is increasing in ferocity each time. Tornadoes were unheard of in December. However higher temperatures normally experienced in spring created extreme turbulence in the atmosphere. It caused the longest and severest tornado in Southwest USA that hit at a ground speed of 300 kilometers wiping everything in its passage. It is a doomsday scenario depicted as rising walls of fire and water. These ingredients that provided life are now turning into demons. Is everything lost? Not yet, proclaim the scientists. It may be preventable if immediate steps are taken to curtail the burning of fossil fuels. They need to be replaced by wind and solar energy. Gas-guzzling vehicles need to be replaced by electric automobiles. Industrial pollution needs stricter laws requiring lower greenhouse gas emissions. Drought-resistant crops need to be introduced. Deforestation has to be reversed with enhanced tree cover. The goal is to cut in half the existing emissions by 2030 and reduce them to zero by 2050. Laudable goals. They would require unity among nations displaying political will; overcoming selfish interests and greed for the survival of the human race. Failing which, the predicted doomsday may be a few generations away. The writer is the director of CERF, a non-profit, charitable organisation in Canada.