Monday, October 15, 2018

And meanwhile, there is climate change

In a week when one of the main talking points in India has been the #MeToo campaign and the outing by a dozen women journalists of the sexually predatory behaviour of M. J. Akbar, with whom they worked at the various publications that he edited before entering politics, there is something even more urgent that we need to address.

Last Monday, October 8, the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with a Special Report on what would be needed to keep the earth's temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.  It contains much that we in India need to address, and urgently, apart from the steps that must be taken by the older industrialised countries, the USA in particular, that have brought us to this stage of crisis in the first place.

But sadly, there is little attention being paid to this report in India.  It occupied a few column inches the day after it was released, and since then has virtually disappeared.

Climate change is a mantra our leaders repeat every now and then, usually to assuage the concerns of international bodies, without really acting with determination on policies that we need to put in place here.

This article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, with whom I worked for a short period in 1998, shows us that the situation could become even more alarming than what the IPCC has predicted:

As the authors of this thought-provoking piece point out:

"Climate change should not be a divisive political issue. It is an issue of fundamental, data-driven science, an issue of human tragedy, and an issue of planetary ecosystems in peril. But above all, it is an issue we can still do something about."

1 comment:

Raghavan S said...

Reproducing below what leaders have said about Climate Change.

Barack Obama, Former President of USA
The danger is real. It is not fiction but Science. Unchecked climate change will pose unacceptable risk to our security, economy and planet.
“So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren.”

Ban Ki Moon, Former Secretary General, United Nations
“Growth has freed millions of people from poverty and hunger… but growth is also associated with pollution and an increase in emissions.”
“Climate change has happened because of human behaviour, therefore it’s only natural it should be us, human beings, to address this issue. It may not be too late if we take decisive actions today.”
“We are the first generation that can end poverty and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impact of climate change. Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our moral and historical responsibilities.”
“It’s not only government. Government cannot do it alone. The UN cannot do it alone. There should be full partnership
“All policies should be people centered – without people they are meaningless.”

Kare Chawicha, Ethiopia State Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
“Climate change does not affect us equally. Those countries which have contributed least to the problem are often affected the most. We are here to cooperate. We are here to share experiences. Even if we contribute the least and suffer the most, we do not sit idle,”

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
“It’s a collective endeavour, it’s collective accountability and it may not be too late.”
“At this point in time, it’s macro critical, it’s people critical, it’s planet critical.”
We are at risk of being grilled, fried and toasted.”

Jim Yong Kim, President, The World Bank
“We have to have a plan equal to the challenge… we need to think about how we bring public and private together to achieve these goals.”
“We need to change the relationship between growth and poverty in a way that has a bigger impact.”
“We have to wake up to the fierce urgency of the now.”

Francois Hollande, President of France

We have a single mission: To protect and hand on the planet to the next generation.

The time is past when humankind thought it could selfishly draw on exhaustible resources.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
We agree on a binding review mechanism under international law so that this century can credibly be called century of decarbonisation.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India
Climate justice demands that, with the little carbon space we still have, developing countries should have enough room to grow

Michael Spence, William R. Berkley Professor in Economics and Business, NYU Stern School of Business, Italy
“We have a choice: between a energy-efficient low carbon path and an energy-intensive high carbon path, which at an unknown point of time ends catastrophically. This doesn’t seem like a very hard choice.”
“This is the chance to do something we’ve never done before, to come together in a process of top down agreement, and bottom up energy, creativity and commitment. It will be a moral victory.”