It’s 2020, and we have a massive environmental responsibility – to prevent climate change from really happening. The pandemic surely has eased the harms on the environment, with factories being inactive and city skylines shining blue again, especially Delhi and Beijing which are two most polluted capitals and cities on Earth. But this is the opportunity for us to bring about newer technology in the post-COVID era, not to play with nature, for nature always wins and dominates.
Climate is the state of earth’s atmosphere across a long period of time – through years, decades and centuries. Climate change is often attributed to both natural and human activities. Many people are described in the media as being overly-critical about the doomsday scenario of climate change, and several other politicians and media personalities who say this is not a present day threat.
However, the truth is that it is a looming threat. It’s not a present level extinction event, although it potentially leads to that scenario. Many of the worst effects of climate change can be seen by the end of this century – especially the adverse effects of global warming.
Global warming refers to the earth’s atmosphere heating up, inducing climate change due to the presence of greenhouse gases
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an international institution that has been founded to mount research on this developing global crisis. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, to study and discuss the natural, economic and political impacts and counter-measures for facing climate change catastrophes.
One such indicator IPCC often used to hypothesize what temperatures we will be accustomed to in the future, is the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) method – which predicts the concentration of CO2 (in ppm – parts per million). The above graph indicated by the RCP 2.6 line shows the best possible scenario – a steep decline back to pre-industrial era in the event of effective climate change policies (involving reduction of carbon technology).
The worst scenario is to do nothing about it, and we will be living in a polluted world with 120 Gt of CO2 per year – the worst effects being the global warming phenomenon that will endanger our world and lives – from health to the economy
Global warming refers to the earth’s atmosphere heating up, inducing climate change due to the presence of greenhouse gases. However, the presence of the gases destroy the ozone layer too -discovered in 1982, thus threatening the exposure of UV radiations and streams of cosmic particles that can cause cancer and a variety of other diseases. The Montreal Protocol (1987) set about to ban CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) widely used in pesticides, fertilizers, refrigerators you name it.
In 2019, NASA said that the ozone hole was the smallest since it was first discovered. Clearly, the Montreal Protocol was successful in meeting the demands of the environment at last. However, we have been rather too slow in making moves for taking responsibility even further. But this has been changing now, since the advent of the internet and social media that has popularized green activists and entrepreneurs who want to be part of the new change.
Greta Thunberg, who became the icon of the climate movement in 2019 – after her impassioned and assertive speech at the United Nations where she berated world leaders including Donald Trump about the need to switch towards cleaner technology and abandon our carbon footprint (factory emissions, vehicle exhaust, plant residue burning) in our daily lives completely.
India has featured in the list of high CO2 emissions in the world (although amongst the lowest in per capita production), only after China, the US, and the EU (when the UK was still a member) with about 6.8% of the world’s emissions
The industry has picked up on all these developments for decades even before the politicians were committed to it themselves, with companies increasingly changing to biodegradable material and using renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energies. Electric cars are taking over the road in Europe and North America, especially Germany who is investing more in charging stations by 2030.
India has featured in the list of high CO2 emissions in the world (although amongst the lowest in per capita production), only after China, the US, and the EU (when the UK was still a member) with about 6.8% of the world’s emissions. China is the highest – with 29.4%, and the US with 14.3%. India is however, a signatory of the Paris Agreements (2016), and is committed to limiting the global increase of average surface temperature to 2 degrees Celsius and lower – 1.5 degrees Celsius being the best result of the global effort. Much of the pollution in India comes from the use of cow manure as a fuel in rural areas and the burning of plant residue by farmers – one event that led to the smog situation in Delhi this year. Innovations such as electric vehicles and use of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) – which produces 50% less CO2 compared to other sources – does give a hope that the future will be more “green”.
However, the challenges that India faces in particular is due to the expensive research and innovation needed to reach that level of commitment.
Increasing forest cover does help counteract the levels of CO2, according to a report released by FEU-US (which advocates action on climate change). India’s State of Forest Report says that the forest cover of India is about 22% and the target is to get it to 33% (part of India’s national policy as well). India’s liable to reduce carbon release by 2.5-3 million tons by 2030. India’s future economic rise will significantly be shaped by its climate policy as well, due to global warming, leading to climate change.