[Answered]“The problem with global environmental policies is that the climate treaties focus on symptoms, rather than the cause.” Elaborate.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body. Discuss the major issue in global environmental policies.

Conclusion. Way forward.

 The increasing levels of concentration of greenhouse gases, and rising temperatures, raises questions on the effectiveness of global climate policy. The problem is that global environmental policies have so far considers symptoms i.e. emissions of greenhouse gases, rather than the causes i.e. efficient use of natural resources keeping climate change in mind.

Major issue in global environmental policies:

  1. It is reported that excessive resource use by the 5th of the world population in the West which is still responsible for half of global material use and the cause of climate change. Despite this global environmental policies like UNFCCC has focus only on greenhouse gases and no major effort has been made from West to reduce the burden on resources.
  2. Asia with half the world’s population is responsible for less than half of material use, and living in harmony with nature. It is forced to deal with the climate change and major of the green efforts are done from Asia. This mismatch where emitter is not being pushed to go for sustainably use resources and reducing emissions has failed the very objective of the policies.
  3. Consumption patterns of primary material especially from West has led to rise in emissions. No efforthas been made to reduce such consumption patterns.
  4. The effort by making provisions like carbon trading and polluter pays principle has not been effective to put a stop on discriminatory usage of resources.
  5. Developed countries have been running from taking responsibilities and work together in order to reduce climate change. For example, not much technology has been transferred to the developing world that could have helped in reducing carbon emissions.
  6. The US and China are the largest emitter and consumer of the resources. No onus is put by environmental policies wrt limiting use of polluting resources.

Way forward:

  1. Measures for global sustainability should draw lessons from India and China. For example, transport emissions are the fastest growing emissions worldwide, projected to become half of global emissions, and in the future more polluting than coal use. India and China are global leaders in sustainability as they adopt electric vehicles supported by solar and wind renewable energy.
  2. By 2040 more than half of global wealth is again going to be in Asia, the low carbon social development model adopted by India and China will become the world system, ensuring global sustainability.
  3. Alternative strategies led by India and China should be included in the ineffective Climate Treaty and focus must be on limiting resource burden and carbon footprint.

Thus, what is required is a multi-pronged effort not only on symptoms but also on the causes. Efforts like banning plastic by India, increasing renewable investment, adopting green energy, replacing coal with nuclear energy etc. must be focused equally in the environmental policies.