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Sansad TV: New India Debate- Global Warming & it’s impact on the Himalayas

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Global warming:

  • Since the Industrial Revolution, the global annual temperature has increased in total by a little more than 1 degree Celsius, or about 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Between 1880—the year that accurate recordkeeping began—and 1980, it rose on average by 0.07 degrees Celsius (0.13 degrees Fahrenheit) every 10 years.
  • Since 1981, however, the rate of increase has more than doubled: For the last 40 years, we’ve seen the global annual temperature rise by 0.18 degrees Celsius, or 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit, per decade.
  • Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface.
  • Normally this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter.
  • These heat-trapping pollutants—specifically carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and synthetic fluorinated gases—are known as greenhouse gases, and their impact is called the greenhouse effect.

Global Trend 

  • Human activities have already raised the global temperature by one degree centigrade compared to the pre-industrial levels.
  • The global warming is now likely to reach 1.5 degree between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to rise at the current rate.
  • The world is already witnessing the consequences of 1 degree global warming in the form of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice.
  • There will be long-lasting or irreversible changes like the loss of some ecosystems if the temperature rises further. South Asia, particularly India, Pakistan and China are hotspots in a warming world.

Challenges: 

  • A series of extreme weather events that took place last year concern about the future.
  • India said merely achieving its INDC targets would cost it $1tn. It is unclear who will bear these enormous costs.
  • The Green Climate Fund has been woefully missing its deadlines for gathering funds.
  • India has set ambitious renewable energy targets, but these come with their own set of challenges.
  • It would need to store renewable energy on a massive scale, but the price of battery storage has not been falling fast enough.
  • Another challenge is India’s growing demand for transport.

Way Forward:

  • To limit ourselves to 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions should reduce by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and should reach net-zero around 2050.
  • Use of coal should reduce steeply and its share in electricity mix should be reduced to close to 0 percent by 2050.
  • To limit global warming, countries will have to change policies in sectors like land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and urban development.
  • India needs to focus on improving air quality which can deliver returns in health and productivity as well as the recovery of monsoon.
  • The efforts should include reforestation which would reduce the impact of extreme events.
  • India needs to boost electric vehicles and also urgently strengthen its bus, rail and public infrastructure to move towards more sustainable means of transport.