Like Nero, we fiddle as the world burns 

News: Recently, the temperature level of four to eight degrees above normal have been recorded in South Asia. Such intense heat waves have not been seen in more than a century.  

Pattern of extreme weather events due to climate change 

(1) Spatial Pattern: India is uniquely vulnerable to heat waves. The vulnerability will increase with climate change. But larger heat waves are now a possibility everywhere: From Chicago to California, from Australia to Europe.  

(2) Temporal Pattern In 2019, the global heat waves took a toll of about 3,50,000 excess deaths world-wide. Weather events like these validate the worldwide arguments of climate catastrophism. 

The recently released IPCC Synthesis Report mentions that the future is already here. The world has bypassed the point where we could have limited global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.  

Measures already taken to mitigate the climate change 

India has taken various measures to mitigate climate change. For example, India has ramped up renewable energy capacity and kept fuel taxes high.  

Globally, private investment in “green technologies” is accelerating. For example, the growth of the green bonds market. The financial help is available for countries that want to get off the fossil fuel path. 

What are the challenges wrt mounting an effective response against climate change?  

(A) Global Level 

The world has to counter the challenge of a number of climate deniers and peddlers of fake news across the world.  

Further, those who do acknowledge that climate change is the reality are imprisoned by a sense of unreality. These countries do not take collective action in relation to climate change. They think only in terms of its national interest.  

Further, the targets announced by the countries are not in terms of measures that will actually mitigate climate change. They are actually announced only to show the upper hand in global discourse. 

In reality, the developed world has failed to accept its historical responsibility. They put disproportionate blame on developing countries. For example, the US has been blaming other countries.  

The will of the countries to live up to modest Paris climate targets has diminished. For example, (1) the Ukraine war has revived the focus on fossil fuels on a massive scale, and (2) the US has not released many funds, despite big announcements for the climate related development finance of developing countries. 

In turn, developing countries like India are seeing the global climate debate and the IPCC’s alarmism as another ruse to trap developing countries. The climate debates are being used as a wedge to pressure developing countries 

The developing countries are accusing the developed countries of climate colonialism instead of finding creative solutions for combating climate change. 

Climate change mitigation measures like private investment are more about business opportunities.  

The IPCC Synthesis Report points out that the countries are making it harder not easier to reach the 1.5-degree Celsius global warming target.  


Although India claims to have increased forest cover, its commitment to renewables, and electric vehicles, however, India is facing various issues. For instance: Indian cities are hotter, water is more precarious, health is subject to the vagaries of climate, and dependence on fossil fuels is higher than necessary.  

Way Forward 

India needs to ask whether its actions and initiatives are achieving the objective of making India more habitable. 

Source: The post is based on an article “Like Nero, we fiddle as the world burns” published in the Indian Express on 04th May 2022. 

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