Seize the initiative on climate change, Mr Modi

Source: Business Standard

Relevance: India’s fight against the climate crisis

Synopsis: Though, not caused by us, climate change induced by the historical emissions made by developed countries, is the stark reality. India should prepare its roadmap for COP 26 Glasgow summit and secure an adequately financed deal for the developing world. Climate change, is thus, affording us an opportunity for world leadership.


The first part of the 6th IPCC Assessment Report has highlighted the severity of the climate change related events that are happening and will happen in future under business as usual scenario. The report is even more worrying for India because ours is the country most at risk from global warming and associated weird weather patterns and events. Our lives, livelihoods and macro-economy are dependent upon a fragile weather system.

Must Read: IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report – All you need to know
Concerns for India
  1. Unreliable monsoon: As per IPCC report, monsoon will be severely altered by global warming. A more intense, but patchy monsoon, with a later onset, will ch­a­nge how farmers must operate. It will render current cropping timetables and crop choices irrelevant. It will make hilly areas prone to far more landslides, and will increase catastrophic flooding in the lower reaches of the Gangetic and Brahmaputra basins.
  2. Warmer Indian Ocean: The report says that the Indian Ocean might warm more than other bodies of water, rendering life on the coasts far less comfortable.
  3. Rising sea level: Further, a rising sea level will mean coastal erosion, threats to densely populated coastal regions, and increasing salinity that will reduce the availability of fresh water for settlements and render ever more fertile land uncultivable.
  4. Climate refugee problem: India’s politics will also be increasingly disrupted by climate refugees of one kind or another. Many will be internal refugees, leading to regional tensions. Others will be from outside.
  5. International and inter-state water disputes: Disputes between Indian states and with our neighbours over water will take on a fresh edge.
  6. Heat stress: The number of days with temperatures over 40o C will increase dramatically. A large number of people will still work outside, doing manual labour, under the scorching sun. An increase in the number of heat stress days will lead to public health crises.
Way forward

The fact is that others have created this problem, but others will not solve it for us. That is unfair, but that is the reality. India needs to move forward on climate change to secure Indians’ futures. It needs to emerge from COP26 with a deal that the India can credibly claim will, over the next decade, mobilise trillions of dollars in climate-oriented private finance towards the emerging world, including India. This is the Indian government’s duty not just to its own people but to its own notion of developing-world leadership.

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