Following the “massive wake-up call” in a report authored by 234 environmental experts from 66 countries, compiled once after analyzing 14000 scientific cases over three years under the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the planet validates the findings this year by offering solely two choices for the people occupying its large patches within the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Far East: Face the drought or flow in the flood. Sadly, humans took two centuries to search out this furious response through consistent and unsolicited intervention. In 1900, fewer than 2 billion people were living on the planet and carbon emissions were 0 .195 billion metric tons. In 1900 there were only 4,192 passenger cars built in the US (the only country to be manufacturing cars). According to a rough estimate, there are 1.446 billion cars, 25000 commercial aeroplanes, and 53046 fighter aircraft. The world’s population stands at almost 7.9 billion in 2021 and carbon emissions are 34.81 billion metric tons. Population explosion and industrialization induced the thickness of carbon cover on one side and the depletion of forest cover on the other. The Nature study’s lead scientists Xiao-Peng Song and Matthew Hansen recorded 1.33 million square kilometres of fallen tree cover between 1982 and 2016, mostly through land clearance for agriculture, forestry, and urban development. Dr Hannah Ritchie, University of Oxford writes “Shortly after the end of the last great ice age – 10,000 years ago – 57 per cent of the world’s habitable land was covered by forest. In the millennia since then, growing demand for agricultural land means we’ve lost one-third of global forests – an area twice the size of the United States. Half of this loss occurred in the last century alone”. The IPPC study anticipates that the global average temperature could reach or exceed a 1.5 C increase in the next two decades which is already 1 C warmer than in pre-industrial times. This fast increment is enough to unbalance mountain systems, ocean systems, rain cycles, and desert systems. The next decade is decisive to choose between a livable planet and consumption. According to the International Alpine Protection Commission, the climate of the Alps has increased by 2C over the past 120 years causing a 50 per cent loss in the ice volume since 1850. The temperature was recorded at 10 degrees Celsius at the summit of mountain Marmolada one day before a section of the huge glacier collapsed and damaged human life and property in Northern Italy. Professor David Holland from New York University finds during his extensive research conducted in the ice canyons of Antarctica that the most important Thwaites Glacier, as bigger as Florida, the so-called dooms-day glacier, is losing 300 feet of ice each year. Thwaites glacier stores enough water to increase the global sea levels by three feet if it all melted. Historically, the USA has been the largest carbon polluter on the globe. However, currently, according to research conducted by Rhodium Group, China emits carbon footprints more than the entire developed world combined– 27 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases in 2019. The US was the second-largest emitter at 11 per cent while India was third with 6.6 per cent of emissions. Other top carbon producers include Russia, Japan, Iran, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. In per capita carbon emissions, middle eastern countries like Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, and Saudi Arabia stand at the top. Overall, according to World Economic Forum reports 21 per cent of sea level rise in the past two decades is caused by the melting of snow glaciers. The report is based on a paper authored by 11 environmental experts worldwide and published in Nature. The research analyzed 20000 glaciers on the planet to show how they have lost mass and thickness between 2000 and 2019. This is a huge threat to nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population living within 100 km of coastal lines in metropolitan cities like Jakarta, Lagos, Houston, Virginia, Rotterdam, Alexandria, Dhaka, Bangkok, Venice, New Orleans, Osaka, and Miami. The more painful fact is that the developing nations in Africa and Asia located around the equator face the highest brunt of extreme weather despite having their negligible contribution to carbon emissions. Climate calamities in these countries bring more drastic consequences for human life and the economy as compared to the developed world due to inadequate resources and lack of precautionary infrastructure. Pakistan is a classic case study. The country’s topology has a significant gradient connecting the U-shaped mountains of Koh-e Suleman, the Himalayas, Hindukush, and the Karakorum to the coastal line of the Arabian Sea while passing through vast agricultural plains. The gradient is perfect to facilitate stormy water flows turning into horrible floods. Moreover, Pakistan is more vulnerable to climate extremities as it shares borders with the two largest carbon producers in the world-China and India. During the last two months, extensive rainfalls, cloud bursts, and glaciers melting on the peaks of the three greatest mountain ranges intersecting in the north of Pakistan, heavy glacier floods have devastatingly damaged the life, shelter, and agriculture in the southern plains of KP, Punjab, Sindh, and Baluchistan. More than 1000 people are dead and millions are homeless. The mountain areas of Swat, Dir, Chitral, Kaghan and GB are blocked due to landslides, and bridges are cut-off. Glacier waters have thrown away anything coming in their way including hotels, houses, humans, cars and orchards. Other than that, 8 unprecedented spells of torrential monsoon rains in a short period of two months aggravated the situation from bad to worse. The whole two provinces Baluchistan and Sindh are underwater. Hundreds of humans have lost their lives, houses were wiped out, thousands of hectares of agricultural land have become useless, and major road infrastructure, communication/power networks and connecting bridges have collapsed. We registered 1.5 million mud houses in Sindh during the last census and 90 per cent of them have collapsed. Around 10 million people are homeless, and more than 300 are dead. 100 per cent of the cotton and sugar cane crops are destroyed. We have lost the interprovincial road connectivity. The catastrophe is much bigger than our resources. We need international help” said the Chief Minister of Sindh province, Murad Ali shah. In Australia, many cities had seen 4 floods in a short period of 18 months. Southern Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW) had each received rainfall of the highest frequency that normally used to occur in a whole year. In Sydney, thousands of people evacuated their homes because of unexpected torrential rains of high frequency. Only during the past few months, thousands of people died in flash floods, unexpected rainfalls, rockslides, and landslides in Himachal Pradesh (India), West Papua (Indonesia) Indonesia, Darfur (Sudan), and Texas (the USA). Another dimension of climate change is more intense heat waves, drying out of the soil causing droughts in China, Southern Africa, North America, and the UK. As the baseline temperature is increased, it is thirty times more likely to have periodic heat waves in different parts of the world than we would have without climate change. Europe’s worst drought in decades reduces Danube’s water levels, exposing hulks of dozens of German warships sunk during WW2 near Siberia’s River port town of Prahova. According to WHO, 1700 deaths are recorded this year due to heatwaves in Spain and Portugal alone. Wildfires, with intense implications in southern Europe, are now occurring as far north as Scandinavia. 41 homes are destroyed in London due to these fires. China suffers through its longest and most frightening heat wave. 70 days of scorching weather caused forests and bushfires. Payong Lake, China’s largest freshwater reservoir, and Yangtze River, Asia’s longest waterway are getting almost dry. Payong lake used to cover nearly 4000sq kilometres but now it covers only 600 sq km—inflicting dreadful consequences on the vast swaths of crops, marine life and livestock in Southern China. Worldwide, more than two billion people lack access to clean water and climate change is worsening it. Drought is ravaging New Mexico where farm animals are dying, harvests are disrupted, and people are facing extreme water scarcity. Hungry faces the worst drought in 120 years. The world’s largest freshwater reservoir in the form of ice, the Tibetan Plateau, Asia’s water tower, a source of 10 major Asian river systems flowing into 10 countries, springs freshwater for two billion people in Central Asia, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, is warming and melting. Tens of thousands of flying foxes died due to an increase in average temperature in Australia. Some scientists believe that eight per cent of species could face extinction only due to climate change. This is not just about losing the wonders of nature. The loss of the smallest organism destabilizes the world’s ecosystems, the networks that support the whole of life on Earth. According to the Paris Agreement, 40 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions need to be cut down, which becomes an immense task after the pandemic, and also the energy crisis in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The challenge is to hit a trade-off between manufacturing and carbon cuts amid supply chain shortages and logistic insecurity in the world’s industrial cycle due to other factors like volcano eruptions, pandemics, and wars. Japan shut down its nuclear power generation plants accounting for 31 per cent of the total power generation following the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in 2010. Recently, when 5000 people faced heat strokes and were hospitalized due to a blistering heat wave across Japan, the government advised people to keep their energy-intensive air conditioning units on. The sudden increase in power consumption has put a huge strain on Japan’s energy grid. Therefore, Japan has to bring its coal and gas power plants back into operation, and thus, the vicious cycle goes on. In short, this is the planet’s SOS call. Radical and rapid decarbonization is inevitable. The next decade is decisive to choose between a livable planet and consumption. Still, the climate is not the top priority in the international power discourse. The highest responsibility rests with the countries that pollute my planet the most-the superpowers and few others. They need to realize that the cost of their high-tech life, luxury, and military-industrial complexes are being paid by those living in mud houses with the lowest human quality index, running their economies on cattle, crops, and fruits. We need forests and emergency programs to fund renewable energy power projects. The planet needs climate justice as soon as possible. Otherwise, many environmentalists believe that it is already late because we have crossed the reversible limit of destruction in natural ecosystems. The writer is an academic, columnist and public policy researcher.