Daily News - Back

Climate Emergency

Mains -GS3- Environment

1. A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. shows that global warming during the past half-century has contributed to a differential change in income across countries.

2. More recently, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has reported that, worldwide, the abundance of species has reduced by at least one-fifth, about a million species are under threat of extinction in the next few decades and 85% of wetlands have been lost.

3. The International Monetary Fund estimates in a recent working paper also stated that fossil fuel subsidies were $4.7 trillion in 2015 and estimated to be $5.2 trillion in 2017. 

4. It further states that efficient fossil fuel pricing would have reduced global carbon emissions by 28%.

Reaction of stakeholders

1. Recently, the U.K. Parliament became the first to declare a climate emergency.

2. The manifestos of the political parties contesting the Indian general election didn’t give significance to climate and environment.

3. Ignoring climate change, some elite networks  involving governments actively or quiescently colluding with fossil fuel companies, agro-industrial elites, financial elites, and other big businesses are taking advantage of the situation.

4. Few instances of the elite networks taking advantage of the situation to consolidate their control are-

a) Superpowers are angling to access wealth from the oil, gas, uranium and precious metals in the Arctic region, despite rapid melting of glaciers by opening up shipping in the area.

b) Similarly, big oil and energy companies tried to access liquid natural gas of Mozambique, which resulted in the country facing financial issues.

c) In India, the draft Indian Forest Act of 2019, enhanced the political and police power of the forest department and curtails the rights of millions of forest dwellers.

d)  Fossil fuel industries have influenced scientists, politicians and local elites to secure their interests by directly funding spread of misinformation regarding the impact of industries on climate.

People’s Reaction

1. Policies and commitments make it clear that most governments and businesses are not interested in dealing with the climate and ecological crises.

2. Large-scale movement for “planet emergency”, climate and ecology and Extinction Rebellion has been organized in many parts of Europe and in Asia.

3. Non-violent civil disobedience of people, made up of students or adults, cannot be ignored by the government for long.

Way Forward

1. The only solution that governments and business are looking for are those that enable them to carry on as before. 

2. But the planet is well past that point where small fixes can help take us on a long path to zero carbon earth. 

3.  At this stage, a major overhaul of our lifestyles and patterns of consumption is needed.

Source: The Hindu