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Sansad TV: Perspective- Tackling Climate Change




Challenges in addressing climate change:

  • Regional Inequality:
    • The principle of Common but differentiated responsibilities was proposed to tackle climate change by addressing the regional inequality.
    • However, the indifferent behaviour by the developed countries has led to partial success of many global initiatives. Eg. Kyoto Protocol.
  • Developed Countries not taking responsibility:
    • Historical emissions and pollution caused due to industrial revolution is not accepted by the industrialized nations.
    • Developed nations are unwilling to accept the responsibility and are moving away from global agreements. Eg. USA rejecting the Paris deal.
  • Finance:
    • Huge amount of funds are required for adaptation and mitigation measures to be adopted.
    • For eg: electric mobility, certainly is a green measure, but is actually expensive, in immediate terms, in terms of cost per vehicle kilometre.
    • The cost of shifting into renewable energy is also a fiscal challenge to most countries.
  • Technology:
    • Many adaptation and mitigation measures need sophisticated technologies and Research and Development which is an impediment to many developing and small island nations.
    • Commercialization of technology in form of Patents, evergreening has made it unaffordable.
  • Increasing use of fossil fuels.
  • Complex linkages among emissions, concentrations, climate changes, and impacts.
  • Lack of certainty about the details of future climate change.
  • Significant time lags in human response systems.
  • Risks, judgments about risk, and adaptation needs are highly variable across different contexts.

Major initiatives of the Government towards combating climate change:

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): The Action plan covers eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
  • State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC): State governments have drafted climate strategies aligned with the eight National Missions under the NAPCC. The strategies focus on issues ranging from climate mitigation, energy efficiency, and resource conservation to climate adaptation.
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility: Union Government in April 2015 launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: The scheme provides LPG connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries. The connections are given in the name of women beneficiaries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.
  • UJALA scheme: The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission

A path for India without compromising for Developmental Activities:

  • First, that the prospects of effective global action required to address climate change are so weak is extremely bad news for India.
  • We are a deeply vulnerable country to climate impacts. It would behove India not to be a status quo player in this context, but to argue for enhanced global collective action.
  • Second, India has the potential to show the pathway to accelerating action on climate change even while pursuing its development interests.
  • A notable example is its energy efficiency track record, which helps limit greenhouse gases even while saving the nation energy.
  • However, there are inconsistencies in India’s story as a climate champion. India is justifiably recognised for promoting renewable energy, yet also muddies the waters by sending mixed signals on future coal use.
  • India needs domestic energy policies that are more clearly and coherently tuned to a future low carbon world.
  • Third, such a domestic message would position India to be a true global climate leader, rather than a leader only among climate laggards.
  • Such an agenda could bring together economic, environmental and political gains.
  • The pathway to enhanced action is unlikely to override entrenched national politics, powered by international suasion.
  • Instead, the aim should be to make accelerated climate action congruent with an enlightened notion of national interest by focusing on key actions in rapidly changing areas such as energy and urbanisation.
  • India can build a diplomatic approach on a firm domestic foundation that takes seriously climate change as a factor in its future development pathway.

Way Forward

  • Localized Climate risk atlas at national scale level.
  • Democratization of climate data.
  • The real challenge is to get other developed countries on board.
  • Wealthy nations like the U.S., and those of the EU argued that emissions from developing countries are consistently rising and they need to commit to more serious emission cuts. A consensus needs to be developed at the earliest.
  • Ban on single use plastic will be one of the game changer
  • The ‘developing versus developed country’ schism needs to be diluted at the earliest and Developed Countries should avoid watering down the CBDR principle envisaged in earlier agreements.
  • We should not treat climate change as an environmental problem but need to address it as developmental challenge.
  • Investment in R&D is needed to spur innovations in sustainable climate-friendly and climate-proof productivity, and the private sector can help on this.
  • India’s ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions require strong political will, meaningful engagements and sustainable plans.
  • Climate finance can prove to be a compelling financial tool to align India’s growth with various climate change measures.