(The Gist of Kurukshetra) INDIA MAKES STRIDES TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE [JUNE-2018]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) INDIA MAKES STRIDES TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE

[JUNE-2018]


INDIA MAKES STRIDES TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE

Facing the grave challenges of climate change, India has taken some definite strides in two fields -the Swachh Bharat campaign and the pursuit of renewable sources of energy, especially solar power. On both fronts, the country has been quite successful and there has been commendable progress. In fact, toilets are being built all over the country with government assistance with the objective of making the country defecation free by the year 2019. The pace of activity in the solar power sector has picked tremendously in the last two years due to strong government support and increasing price competitiveness of solar power.

There is a hue and cry over natural resources of the earth being mindlessly exploited globally, resulting in a poor state of their regeneration and causing irreversible damage to the planet. Every year, the World Environment Day is observed with great fanfare but in reality whatever is being done by most countries is not sufficient to restrict global warming to save mother earth.

The report, prepared by German Watch and other organizations from across the world, found climate change impacts had killed 2119 people in India during 2016, a number higher than any other country. However, analysts believe that India’s actual vulnerability may be even higher than assigned because the effects of long-term climate impacts such as sea level rise which, in the country, affects regions like the Sunderbans with a population of five million had not been considered in assessing the climate risk. It estimated that India lost about $ 21,500 million due to extreme weather events during 2016, the third highest financial loss after those suffered by China and the US.

Estimates reveal that India needs over $1 trillion to meet its requirements to counter climate change and would like to have a meaningful resolution of the issue of long-term finance at the global climate negotiations. It is estimated that India needed S 206 billion to support plans to curb emissions, $ 189 billion to execute national and state level climate action plans and S 134 billion for low carbon growth related mitigation.

All the above developments confirm that the so called modern civilization is destroying the tropical forests, hastening land degradation and desertification, destroying the environment, destroying livelihoods of poor farmers and turning human lives into well trained slaves, specially in Third World countries, including India. Moreover, a latest report of the Southern University of Science & Technology in China has pointed out that even if global warming is limited to 2° C, as per the Paris Accord, around 25 per cent or even more of the total land surface will become drier. And this includes land in all five climatic zones -hyper arid, arid, semi arid, dry sub-humid and humid.

India’s initiatives

Gandhiji had the foresight to recognize the imminent danger threatening the existence the Earth as a result of environmental destruction and violence and references are found in his famous book, Hind Swaraj. He predicted “We all have to die with it (modern civilization), if we do not act, that is, if we don’t do our duty”.

In such a critical situation, India has taken some definite strides in two fields -the Swachh Bharat campaign and the pursuit of renewable sources of energy, specially solar power. On both fronts, the country has been quite successful and there has been commendable progress. In fact, toilets are being built all over the country with government assistance with the objective of making the country defecation free by the year 2019. Certain sections believe that this may take another year or so to achieve the objective and, within this time frame, the habits of people are also expected to change“

The water resources secretary of U.P. confirmed that water quality of the river has improved in terms of three parameters biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved oxygen (D0) and coliforms which indicate the health of the river. The DO levels have improved at 33 locations and BOD levels at 26 locations while coliform bacteria count is reduced at 30 locations, while referring to water quality monitoring data of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for 2015-17 period.

As regards the power sector, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi wants to raise renewable capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022 from 45 gigawatts at present. In addition to meeting its own energy targets, which Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates may cost $200 billion. India wants to emulate industrial development in neighboring China, where solar manufacturing has created a world-leading export industry.

Future Outlook

Afforestation, desiltation of rivers and canals and replenishment of soil with organic matter- will need maximum resources that now flow to power, large industry and irrigation. The present trust on solar power and wind power are, no doubt, steps in the right direction but this has been very late in the day. As it is quite obvious, “afforestation can be successful only if for a few decades the forests and freed from the pressure of firewood and dams and other development do not replace these forests, causing extermination of wild life”. This is the price we have to pay for the destruction we have carried out in the name of development.

Finally, it need to be reiterated that at this juncture a civilization that is ecologically balanced has to be the strategy of all countries, including India. Humans have to learn to care about what happens to other species and ecosystems that is, to treat nature as if it mattered. What is more important at this juncture is that humans can no more longer treat the environment and other species as mere objects but take care of them for their own well being.

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