A call to action to avoid climate catastrophe

Source: The post is based on the article “A call to action to avoid climate catastrophe” published in The Hindu on 16th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

Relevance: About the required actions to avoid climate catastrophe.

News: Climate change is a global problem that requires cooperation between all nations. Hence, more than 30 newspapers and media organisations in more than 20 countries have taken a common view about what needs to be done.

What was the view of media organisations on present actions against climate catastrophe?

Media organisations think that the world is heading towards climate catastrophe because,

1) Instead of phasing out fossil fuels, many wealthy nations are a) Reinvesting in oil and gas, b) Failing to cut emissions fast enough and c) Bargaining over the aid they are prepared to send to poor countries.

2) Since the Cop26 in Glasgow last year, countries have only promised to do one-fiftieth of what is needed to stay on track to keep temperatures within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels.

3) No continent has avoided extreme weather disasters this year — from floods in Pakistan to heatwaves in Europe, and from forest fires in Australia to hurricanes in the US. With rising temperatures, the world can expect far worse to come.

4) After the Russia-Ukraine crisis, many nations seek to reduce their energy reliance on Russia. So, the world is experiencing a “gold rush” for new fossil fuel projects.

Why do rich countries need to take climate responsibility?

Clear moral responsibility: Rich countries account for just one in eight people in the world today but are responsible for half of the greenhouse gases.

From melting ice sheets to crop failures, the world’s poorest people are bearing the brunt of climate destruction.

Read more: COP-27: An opportunity for rich nations to help vulnerable communities
What needs to be done to avert climate catastrophe?

Humanity should end its addiction to fossil fuels: Developed countries should focus on clean and renewable energy instead of focusing on fossil fuels at present.

Rich nations should deliver on the promise: Rich nations should provide the previously committed funds – such as the $100bn a year from 2020. This will signal their climate seriousness.

This can be done by levying a bare minimum windfall tax on the combined profits of the largest oil and gas companies.

Need radical approach in funding: During the pandemic, central banks across the world lubricated states’ expenditures by buying up their own governments’ bonds. Such radical thinking is essential as trillions of dollars are needed to deal with the ecological emergency.

The other steps are, a) Using cash to support the most vulnerable as demanded by the United Nations, b) Poor nations are burdened with debts that make it impossible for them to recover after climate-related disasters or protect themselves from future ones. So, the Creditors should write off loans for those on the frontline of the climate emergency.

Read more: The questions that CoP-27 must answer to ensure climate justice

To make all this an urgent reality, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should be about the power of argument not the argument of power.

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