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Sansad TV: Perspective- Climate Change – No Time To Lose

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Introduction:

The world is very likely to miss the most important climate target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which would cause irrevocable damage to the planet’s ecosystem and severely impact humans and other living beings, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN-backed body of the world’s leading climate scientists has warned. Releasing the report, scientists said keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels requires deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors. Reacting to the report, United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres said: Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast… The climate time-bomb is ticking. The 1.5-degree limit is achievable. But it will take a quantum leap in climate action. Guterres urged rich countries to reach net zero by 2040 and developing countries to aim for 2050. The IPCC Synthesis Report is a summary of all the reports produced since 2015 on the reasons and consequences of global temperature rise due to anthropogenic emissions.

Challenges in addressing climate change:

  • The assessment of climate change impacts and risks as well as adaptation is set against concurrently unfolding non-climatic global trends e.g., biodiversity loss, overall unsustainable consumption of natural resources, land and ecosystem degradation, rapid urbanisation, human demographic shifts, social and economic inequalities and a pandemic.
  • The principle of Common but differentiated responsibilities was proposed to tackle climate change by addressing the regional inequality.
  • Developed Countries not taking responsibility
  • Huge amount of funds are required for adaptation and mitigation measures to be adopted.
  • Technology: Many adaptation and mitigation measures need sophisticated technologies and Research and Development which is an impediment to many developing and small island nations.
  • Increasing use of fossil fuels.
  • Complex linkages among emissions, concentrations, climate changes, and impacts.
  • Lack of certainty about the details of future climate change.

Major initiatives of the Government towards combating climate change:

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
  • State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC)
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
  • UJALA scheme
  • 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.
  • 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

  • The vulnerability of exposed human and natural systems is a component of risk, but also, independently, an important focus in the literature. Approaches to analysing and assessing vulnerability have evolved since previous IPCC assessments. Vulnerability is widely understood to differ within communities and across societies, regions and countries, also changing through time.
  • 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.