Shift to low carbon
Mains Paper 2: Environment
Prelims level: Greenhouse gas, Heatwaves
Mains level: Environmental pollution and degradation
- Both rich and poor countries have faced extensive damage from
storms and heatwaves this year.
- As climate representatives meet in Poland for the Conference of
the Parties 24, the crucial question is whether carbon emissions will be
reined in to avert further damage due to climate change.
- In India, rains, floods and landslides in Kerala have killed 373
people since May 30.
- Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam were battered by floods this
year, as was Chennai in 2015. Meanwhile, Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh,
and Telangana, among other States, experienced heatwaves.
Effects of Greenhouse emissions
- Greenhouse gas emissions, of which carbon dioxide is the biggest
component, make the earth warmer and lead to more heatwaves.
- A study in the journal Scientific Reports found that the decadal
mean of daily maximum temperature for April and May in the 2010s is 40-42°C
over large parts of India.
- Warmer air holds more moisture, which results in more intense
rainfall and provides more energy for storms.
- Climate scientists attribute the rising trends in flooding and
heatwaves to human-induced climate change.
A feasible solution
- In the absence of a shift to a low carbon economy worldwide, the
average temperature could rise by more than 2°C by the end of this century.
- Hotter, longer summers and excessive rainfall in some areas and
droughts in others will damage crops.
- Warm coastal waters will turn unsuitable for certain species of
- Adapting to a changing climate is one part of the agenda. Japan
has invested a lot of money on coastal defences.
- It has built the world’s largest underground flood water diversion
- With a coastline of about 7,500 km, most of which is low-lying,
India cannot make such colossal investments.
- Better early warnings and timely evacuations have had huge
pay-offs, the most striking example being the massive relocation of people
from the coasts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha before Cyclone Phailin struck
- The adaptation will not suffice unless mitigation takes central
stage among the world’s leading emitters, including India.
- The country has committed to cuts in carbon emissions consistent
with a 2˚C temperature rise. But plans to build new coal-fired power plants
need to be abandoned and replaced with a massive ramp-up of wind and solar
- India’s stakes in a low carbon world economy are among the highest
as it is on the front line of climate disasters and is also a leading
contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Apart from taking steps to adapt to climate change, India’s voice
in decarbonising the world economy is vital.
Q.1) Recently Ease of Living Index was in news. Consider the following
statements with respect to it:
A. The Index is a transformative initiative of the NITI Aayog.
B. Odisha has topped the charts among States in terms of “Ease of Living Index”.
Choose the correct option:
A. A only
B. B only
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B
Q.1) To what extent India’s stakes in a low carbon world economy are
among the highest as it is on the front line of climate disasters. Explain it.