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Sansad TV: Perspective- State of The Global Climate

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Introduction:

The last eight years were, from 2015 to 2022 were the hottest on record worldwide… This as per the State of the Global Climate 2022 report by the World Meteorological Organization, which makes some worrying revelations about record-high temperatures, melting glaciers and rising pollution.It says, the global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15 degrees Celsius above the 1850-1900 average. 2022 was the 5th or 6th warmest year. This was despite three consecutive years of a cooling La Niña – such a “triple-dip” La Niña has happened only three times in the past 50 years.As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the climate continues to change, populations worldwide continue to be gravely impacted by extreme weather and climate events. As many as 95 million people have been displaced due to extreme weather events, as per the report.

Impact of Climate Change (pertaining to India):

  • Indo gangetic plain:The Indo-Gangetic plain is one of the most populous and productive agricultural ecosystems in the world.Climate change will result in both flood and drought, impacting agriculture in the region
  • Punjab:Drought days to extend by 23-46 days in lower Sutlej basin
  • Increase in flash floods. Severe water-logging in south-western region
  • West Bengal: Intensity of cyclone to increase and Sea surge height may increase to 7.46 metres. Sea level rise will be higher than global average
  • UP and Bihar: A mere 1°C rise in temperature to reduce wheat yeilds significantly in UP
  • Rice yeilds are expected to decline in Bihar
  • The Indian Himalayan region: The Himalayas, which represent about 16.2 per cent of the total area of the country, are not only a key watershed of India but also play a crucial role in the monsoon system. Climate change impacts on the mountain range can affect the entire sub-continent
    • The mean temperature of the Himalayas has gone up by 0.6°C in the past 30 years; the frequency of warmer days is also increasing
  • Central and Peninsular India: The region covers most of India’s rainfed areas that contribute more than 40 per cent of the country’s food grain production. Already ravaged by frequent floods and droughts, this region will be severely impacted by climate change, affecting the country’s food security
    • Rainfall: Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand will witness increase in rainfall.
      • Summer rainfall will increase by the end of this century and the number of rainy days during summer will increase by up to 10 days by 2100 in Jharkhand
      • Northern Karnataka, already witnessing less rainfall and higher temperature, will see the temperature trends accentuated
    • The desert region: The Thar desert, covering 10 per cent of the total geographic area of India, is the seventh largest desert in the world. The region has witnessed unheard of floods in the recent past.
    • The coast and islands: The region is already witnessing climate change impacts like frequent, severe cyclones and sea ingression due to sea level rise.
      • Cyclone: The Kutch region in Gujarat and the entire eastern coastal region are projected to have the highest incidence of cyclone.
      • Coconut yields in Kerala are projected to increase by 30%

Mitigation effects of climate change

  • Deploying lower-carbon Energy:
    • Deploying lower carbon energy would help address both domestic and international climate challenges while simultaneously improving the economic well-being of India’s citizens.
  • Mainstreaming Renewable energy:
    • India’s energy mix is dominated by coal powered electric generation stations as of now.
    • The need of the hour is increase the share of renewable energy in this energy mix.
  • Focus on Energy Efficiency:
    • Will need energy efficient buildings, lighting, appliances and industrial practicesto meet the net-zero goal.
  • Increased usage of Biofuels:
    • Can help reduce emissions from light commercial vehicles, tractors in agriculture.
    • In aviation, the only practical solution for reducing emissions is greater use of biofuels, until hydrogen technology gains scale.
  • Transition towards Electric vehicles:
    • This will further help curb the carbon emissions.
  • Carbon Sequestration:
    • India will have to rely on natural and man-made carbon sinks to soak up those emissions. Trees can capture 0.9 billion tons; the country will need carbon capture technologies to sequester the rest.
  • Carbon Pricing:
    • India, which already taxes coal and petroleum fuels, should consider putting a tax on emissions to drive change.

India’s action for Climate Change

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): outlines existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation and adaptation.
  • National Clean Energy Fund: The Government of India created the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) in 2010 for financing and promoting clean energy initiatives and funding research in the area of clean energy in the country.
  • Paris Agreement: Under the Paris Agreement, India has made three commitments. India’s greenhouse gas emission intensity of its GDP will be reduced by 33-35% below 2005 levels by 2030.
  • International Solar Alliance: ISA was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris on 30 November 2015 by India and France, in the presence of Mr. Ban Ki Moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • Bharat Stage (BS) Emission Norms: BS-III was implemented nationwide in 2010. However, in 2016, the government decided to meet the global best practices and leapfrog to BS-VI norms by skipping BS V altogether.

Conclusion

  • The establishment of a carbon market is a progressive step. However, the actual benefit will depend upon the effectiveness of the market.
  • For this, the Government must ensure that proper regulations are established. Moreover, there must be periodic assessment of its functioning and corrective steps its necessary.
  • Climate Change is real and imminent, Government must take all possible steps to mitigate the challenges.
  • The socio-economic impact of decarbonising the economy and the way humans live would be crucial in setting our priorities.
  • We have limited time and our resources are scarce. Paris agreement must be implemented on war footing in India as well as across the globe to limit the devastating impact of climate change.