TOPIC: GS PAPER III ENVIRONMENT & ECOLOGY
As global temperatures continue to rise, hot-weather countries like India feel that the limits of habitability are being stretched. Excessive heating leads to uncontrolled downpour, as has happened this year and thus India is caught in the vertex of cyclical waves of drought and floods, with severe repercussions like the rapid spread of vector borne diseases.
Climate change is the greatest environmental threat humanity has ever faced and the biggest challenge. It is caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and the destruction of areas that store massive amounts of carbon like the world’s rainforests.
India faces the grave challenge of responding to the threat of climate change, perhaps more than any other country in this planet.
MISSION FOR INDIA:
The National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem is in place. And yet unplanned construction in the upper edges of Uttarakhand and adjoining areas are continuing unabated. This has accentuated the threat of landslides and flash floods. Reckless deforestation and urbanization have resulted in record-breaking heat waves that have killed thousands during the last two summers.
The Modi government has decided to ratify the Paris climate pact, which seeks to limit the Earth’s warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. But to keep its pledge, India needs to confront the unpalatable reality that it alone accounts for 4.5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases. India needs to be more active globally to push through the agenda of the Paris deal. Though our Prime Minister avoided raising the issue of climate change during his last meeting with President Trump, now is the time to aggressively campaign on the urgency of tackling climate change and dispel the misconception that climate change is a myth.
Climate change is a big challenge for the planet, and requires action at a large scale by all levels of government and business, but there are many things that you can do reduce your own energy consumption and promote smart energy choices in your community.
In the midst of the chest-thumping after the amicable resolution of the Doklam stand-off with China, our difficult neighbour, hardly any attention was paid to the disturbing news that China did not share hydrological data on the Sutlej and Brahmaputra rivers with India during the flood season this year. Incidentally, rumours were rife in Assam and north Bengal that the exceptionally heavy flooding this year was due to the release of water from a dam built on the Chinese part of Brahmaputra ~ Yarlong Tsangpo ~ though there is no evidence to corroborate this. Improving riparian diplomacy with our neighbours, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, pulling together technical know-how for better management of cross-country rivers and for tackling climate change issues call for statesmanship and a visionary approach.
Climate change issues need to be accorded top priority if India wants to avert the apocalypse and if we want to see those children and the teacher of the village of Assam raising the tricolour on dry land in 2022.
QUESTION ARISING FROM THIS TOPIC:
Q1) Why South Asia is so vulnerable to climate change? Explain this statement with recent issues.
Indian Express, 18 Nov
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