The word 'Climate Change' has got different understanding from people with their contrasting perspectives and opinions. For many people, it is something 'change in weather phenomena over seasons' and for some, it is just a myth that is over-hyped. For Capitalists, it is a tool to hurt their businesses.
For Developed countries, it is a burden on their growth plans by imposing restrictions on them. But in reality, Climate change has been occurring at a rapid pace with destruction in disguise and getting unnoticed on daily basis.
We have seen how people reacted sharply before and after the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, which was concluded in New York City on 23 September 2019. The main aim of this summit was to lower the global temperature from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. To pressurize the aims and commitments made in summit, a 'Global Climate Strike' which was inspired from the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, observed in 150 countries including India from 20-27 September with over 6 million people participated in it worldwide. Thunberg's 'How Dare you' speech at the summit went viral and received support from many leaders, activists and celebrities.
The concern for climate change has started way back in 1992 at Rio Summit when almost every country signed United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Then came Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which had a provision of legally binding emission reduction targets for developed nations. The Doha Amendment (2013), a second commitment of Kyoto protocol had 38 developed countries, including the EU and its 28 member states made a commitment for emissions reduction by at least 18% below 1990 levels. However, EU committed for an additional 2% reduction in emissions. The swift limelight for climate change came in 2015 after 'Paris Agreement', signed by 195 countries, held to curb green house gas emissions. The ultimate aim of the agreement was to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
Recent Cases - Worldwide
1) The recent forest fires in Amazon, which is often termed as "Lungs of the Earth" is an alarming indication in rise of temperature that is occurring worldwide. It is our very duty to protect the forests which acts as carbon sinks. The tropical forests of Amazon are drying up due to rise in temperature and thereby causing fires.
2) The melting of ice sheets in Arctic circle is a great concern due to climate changechange which poses a significant danger for rise in sea levels, ocean acidification, thawing of permafrost and ecological imbalance. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the period from 1995-2005 was the warmest decade since last 300 years.
3) Wild forests, extreme rains and excessive droughts are seen in Australia due to the climate change phenomena. The Great Barrier Reef is also shrinking which will cause huge damage to marine ecosystem.
4) El-Nino and La-Lina are the outcomes of rise in temperature in Pacific Ocean
Climate Change - Risk to India
Indian Monsoon is mainly rainfed which is hugely dependent on sensitive factors like temperature, soil, forests, etc. Additionally, natural resources like wetlands, mangroves, grasslands and coastal zones also contribute to it in an indirect way. Besides, agriculture is a backbone of our economy which provides food and source of income to million of people. Any minor tweak in climate may result in adverse spillover effects both on food security and economy. We have already witnessed many deadly famines in colonial era. Already, India is home to 7 out of top 10 polluted cities of the world.
Recent Cases - India
1) Delhi - The rise of air pollution in Delhi is causing serious problem to the residents. The smoke from the vehicles and brick kilns is mixing with fog and thus, the smog is getting created which has adverse effects on human health and increase if temperature
2) The recent floods in J&K, Kerala, Bihar and Hyderabad is due to excessive rains which has happened due to climate change.
3) The Uttarakhand landslides and avalanches happened in 2013 are because of gradual change in climate which inturn increased the melting of Himalayan snow
4) The droughts in parts of Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat and Karnataka are due to climate change
1) The solution to combat climate change seems to be surprising if I mention about the algae. The algae present in oceans absorbed 34 giga tons of the world’s carbon from 1994 to 2007, more than what forests did. It is striking to mention that we could get efficiency of about 400 times than a tree if we use Algae bioreactors for carbon removal. Additionally, algae can be used to produce biofuel in vehicles where we can trap the carbon from the very first level of ejection.
2) Mangroves &Seagrass meadows should be encouraged as these acts as carbon sinks.
3) Use of Renewable energy such as Solar power, wind and geo-thermal energies for our domestic purposes.
4) Limiting the use of plastics which has an indirect contribution to the climate change.
5) To build planned cities, Urban Rejuvenation and transformation to cope our towns and cities with floods.
6) Preparation of Mitigation plan to counter the climate change at National level.
7) Propagating public transport through means of renewable energy.
8) Limiting the usage of fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas.
9) National Buildings Code to be implemented in towns & cities.
10) Mass afforestation programs like Haritha Haram initiative of Telangana government should be encouraged in various states.
Shaik Amer Arafath