Time-to-Act-IASToppers
Video Summary

[RSTV The Big Picture] Climate: Time to Act

Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it. There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society.
By IT's Video Summary Team
September 30, 2019

Contents

  • Introduction
  • India’s effort towards addressing climate change
  • Does India have the capacity for replacement of fossil fuels?
  • Suggestions
  • Way Forward
  • Conclusion

[RSTV The Big Picture] Climate: Time to Act 

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Introduction

  • Indian Prime Minister gave a clarion call for a global people’s movement to bring about a behavioral change to deal with climate change as he made a path-breaking pledge to more than double India’s non-fossil fuel target to 450 gigawatts at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.
  • It comes a day after he and US President shared the stage at a gala event in Houston and displayed a close friendship. However, the US and India differ on the issue of climate change.
  • US President withdrew from the Paris climate deal in 2017 and blamed India and China for his decision, saying the agreement was unfair as it would have made the US pay for nations which benefited the most from the deal.
  • Meanwhile, Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has condemned world leaders for their betrayal of young people over the climate crisis at a United Nations summit.
  • Earth Overshoot Day, previously known as Ecological Debt Day, is the calculated illustrative calendar date on which human’s resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. For 2019, it was 29th July. Hence, for 2019, earth’s capacity to generate natural resources has already reached its full capacity.

India’s effort towards addressing climate change

  • Except India, none of the country is making any significant progress towards countering climate change.
  • As per Carbon Tracker Initiative, among G20 country, India is the only country whose pledge is considered sufficient. Carbon Tracker is an independent think tank that carries out analysis on the impact of the energy transition on capital markets and the potential investment in carbon-intensive fossil fuels. Under this Initiative, even the evaluation of China’s is highly insufficient as china’s rate of consumption is way beyond that of India.
  • India has 18 percent of Global population but consumes only 6 percent of the energy resources of the world. As an energy deficient country, the only option for India is renewable energy.
  • India has progress towards renewable energy tremendously in last 4-5 years. 2014, India produce just 2.6 gigawatts of solar power. By 2018, India produced 9 gigawatts of solar power.
  • Through Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All, India saved about hundred million units of carbon.

Does India have the capacity for replacement of fossil fuels?

  • Taking the call of the Indian Prime Minister, many countries have joined international Solar Alliance (ISA), wherein the countries between the tropics of cancer and Capricorn have pledged to tap the solar energy.
  • Nowadays, India also has integrated energy resources. For instance, there is a blend of the renewable and the non-renewable Moreover, India has come up with the ethanol and the conventional fuels as well.
  • India has recently also launched India Cooling Action Plan for addressing the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand of India. However, there is not much progress on the science and technology component of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).

Suggestions

  • India has the renewable technology and recently has double its renewable target to 450 GW. However, to achieve this objective, it will need enhanced Research & Development (R&D)
  • Rather than promoting awareness on climate change on general basis, there is need to promote awareness on local level. For example, the impact of climate change on the different river basins is going to be different. Hence, there is need for localized information so that people can start taking it into account in local decisions.
  • Much more work needs to be done on science and technology for climate change. There is need for Carbon sequestration to trap carbon. For that, there is need for a very active monitoring of green cover across India. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) should do research on crop varieties that can endure the uncertainty of future climate. There is also need to research on designing the buildings for much hotter climate without creating new carbon problem.
  • Lot of plastic waste which is generated is being eventually dumped into the landfills because of the improper segregation. This adds to higher transportation cost and higher carbon foot print. Hence, there should be ban/limitation on single use plastic.
  • Aviation sector produces a lot of carbon related footprints. Apart from CO2, plane engines also generate nitrous oxide, water vapor and soot. However, the way a plane flies (height of flying, luggage weight etc.) can affect its carbon footprint. By reducing the aviation carbon footprint, a country can collaborate with other countries by sharing how it reduced aviation pollution.
  • 40% of the plastic waste is not collected in India. There are some technologies through which one can burn single-use plastic at specific temperature without any pollution. This technology was discovered by University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. Hence, there are solution available to current problems, the real need is to have a will power to implement it.
  • Half the carbon, of the total current carbon in the atmosphere, was emitted after 1990 when world started the climate convention process. Hence, there is need for a firm commitment and action towards climate change.
  • Addressing climate change is a developmental challenge. Hence, there should be a mission approach to de-carbanization and strong focus on adaptation measures on science and technology.
  • Even though world achieves the 2 C target of Paris climate agreement, there will be still fewer rainy days, frequent floods and droughts. Hence, there is need for better preparedness for what will likely to happen in future.
  • In case of extreme disastrous event, though India has been applauded for zero casualties, much has not done as far as loss of property is concerned. So, coming up with initiatives such as Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), can lead India in the disaster management.
  • Youngsters have to take active participation in dressing climate change scenario.

Way Forward

  • Today, renewal energy prices are touching the prices of coal. Hence, there won’t be any great expansion of coal plants in future because the renewable energy prices have fallen three times four times in the last five years.
  • Renewable energy prices are going to fall to one rupee per unit which will be much lower than coal and that is when the entire energy disruption will start.
  • In the next 10 years, as renewable energy is a profitable business, one will be finding solutions which are far more than expected. For instance, in every gadget, there will be solar batteries.

Conclusion

  • The world is leaving future generation with a huge ecological debt. Hence, the time has now come to come out of pilot mode and to act as a full-fledged scale for the for the betterment of the masse.

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