When it comes to any discussion on climate change, an abundance of numbers overwhelms everything else.
For example, we can say the net greenhouse gas emission has grown by 40% over the past 30 years. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was the highest as of May this year. It will need a 90% fall from the current Covid-struck levels over the next 30 years to cap global atmospheric temperature rise to 2% of pre-industrial level.
Climate-induced disruptions could take a big knock on business, reducing market capitalisation of the world's biggest companies by 3%, or $1.6 trillion. Weather-related losses between 2017 and 2019 averaged $210 billion annually. And so on and so forth.
All told, the world's 20 most-polluting countries produce roughly 80% of global emissions.
But no matter how many numbers we churn out, the most shocking number at this point in time is 4 November, exactly seven days from today, when the US is leaving the seminal Paris agreement, the Magna Carta of saving this planet from catastrophic climate change signed by 196 countries about five years ago.
It had laid down clear goals and ambitions of cutting emission thereby reducing the atmospheric temperature.
And now when the US, the world's second largest polluter, is walking out with no legal or moral bar to restrain its belching out of 5,414 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or 12% of the world's total amount each year.
President Trump's climate denial decision gives a visceral blow to the already bleak future of our planet. Unmoored from all reality, his doctrine is sure to propel the world on a precarious path to beyond a point of no return. The results of the irreversible climate catastrophe will surely cause higher sea surges and wildfires and severe impacts of unimaginable scope, size and scale on poor countries like Bangladesh.
The outcome of the US election slated for 3 November will have a lot of bearing on the bleak future. Donald Trump's win will surely cloak the world with more smokes.
The Paris agreement was no lollypop for the world. It came after decades of hard bargaining and examining of scientific evidence and had to consider the myriads of interests of disparate nations. The nearest to anything concrete was almost achieved at the Kyoto conference, when China and India, the second and third big net polluters, were brought to the table.
And in Paris in 2016, after lots of dust-up, nations were made to realise that the unrealistic quest for endless development must be capped and they committed to act.
But beyond all this, climate change is already costing businesses and the people heavily in terms of mitigation and adaptation measures and other losses.
As a simple example, as the climate becomes hotter, air conditioner knobs have to be set lower and for longer times. A one degree increase in temperature means about 5% more energy to be spent on keeping offices and homes cool.
Schroders, an asset manager, has estimated that climate change could reduce firms' value by 2-3% on average. Naturally, energy, utility and physical structure sectors will be the worst hit, which stand to lose 4% and 8%, respectively. Water, heat, cyclones and floods, all will inflict increased stresses on business.
The US may be the odd one out, but nations and companies are not sitting idle.
In fact, China has further bolstered its commitment by saying that it will make heavy technology investment to make itself carbon neutral by 2060. It will have a far reaching geopolitical impact with China surely emerging as a top world leader not only in business or military prowess but also as a champion of the environment. This will put China on a podium of distinction among the world leaders.
Companies are and will have to count more expenses to make their operations stress resistant. For example, Microsoft has built two data centres for all its operational locations in case climate disasters struck.
These new realities have also been shaping the face of politics. Worldwide, green parties are getting more and more traction among voters.
In Brussels, Berlin and Dublin, Green parties have won the highest number of votes. Green legislations are being put in place.
The Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics says over 1,900 climate legislations have been framed around the world mostly in the last ten years to decarbonise the economy. That puts companies under new binds to be energy efficient.
That brings in newer challenges, but also new opportunities, new investments, and new innovations.
Joe Biden, the US president hopeful, has promised $2 trillion spending in four years on low-carbon infrastructure and energy.
A Yale University survey indicates a third of Americans buy products from companies that take steps to reduce global warming and over a quarter avoid products by firms opposed to such steps.
So anti-climate company shaming will force businesses to invest in green techs.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says $1.2 trillion of extra annual investment will be required to make energy green.
So this is the crossroads where we stand today.
Come fourth of November, the earth may careen into a path of inevitable destruction. But then there are hopes too, however fickle those may be, and our wish is to be hopeful about the future molded by human creativity, reasoning, and rational actions.