Turning the natural clock back

/ Guest Column / Saturday, 17 July 2021 17:54

By: Pranay Shome
Mahatma Gandhi rightly noted, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs but not every man’s greed”.
The recent extreme weather events witnessed in the form of heat waves in USA and Canada has shown that climate change is very much present and is slowly devouring planet with its deadly tentacles. The heat waves were so extreme that temperatures not only crossed the dangerous threshold of 40 degree Celsius temperature but also resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives. This event has set alarm bells ringing around the world.
The menace of climate change is not new, it is the outcome of hundreds of years of mindless exploitation of nature and its resource. Yuval Noah Harari, a professor of history at Hebrew University of Jerusalem has in his excellent book 21 Lessons for the 21st century has highlighted that one of the catastrophes that earth is going to face is the menace of climate change. He has highlighted that it was the scientific and industrial revolution in England in the early 18th century that really set the tone for the danger of climate change. The unprecedented prosperity that the phenomenon of industrial revolution resulted in the European nation states undertaking new expeditions to explore new continents and areas which could be used to satisfy the burgeoning needs of the European factories. This not only lead to the annihilation of new and undisturbed ecosystem but contribution to a new yet unimaginable increase in greenhouse gas emissions which has come back to haunt us. Mass deforestation, indiscriminate wiping out of biodiversities around the world characterized by introduction of alien species of flora and fauna has resulted in a debilitating impact on the health of planet earth.
Therefore it is quite clear that the issue of climate change is distinctly European phenomenon, but blame game and calling names would only make matters worse for the beleaguered human race, so it is time that the world recognizes the seriousness of the situation. Some of the new yet novel steps are suggested below-
Firstly, on a political level, countries like Hungary, Brazil which conveniently denies the phenomenon of climate change must be held accountable. This can be done by setting a unique yet new international green tribunal under the aegis of the United Nations Environmental Program which deal with such individuals and governments which cause harm to environment and thereby upsetting the fight against climate change. Non compliance must be made a punishable offence such as economic sanctions, imposition of carbon tax on that country’s products marked by a boycott of using such goods to send a message that undermining the sanctity of climate will be punishable.
Secondly, developing countries too have a critical responsibility towards mitigating climate change. In this context, they must make an equal contribution towards funding and establishing the relevant institutions necessary to make aware people about the dangers of climate change. New avenues of growth and development must be adopted. Electric vehicles must be promoted on a mass scale, they need to be mass produced and need to be made affordable to the common masses. Exploration of lithium as a new source of energy needs to be prioritized. The developed and the developing world must join hands to explore the lithium as a new source of energy. Among renewable energy resources, utmost priority must be given to solar energy.
Lastly, The Paris Climatic Accord is a potent means of mitigating the impact of climate change but it must be backed by funding, while the covid-19 pandemic has ostensibly proved to be a setback for the global community as far as funding is concerned but the help is at hand. The global financial institutions like the IMF, World Bank, AIIB, ADB etc must create a new combating climate change corpus worth over $1 trillion and ensure that the bulk of this funding comes from the first world countries particularly the Euro-American world because they bear a historic responsibility towards warding off the danger of climate change.
It is high time that the world recognizes that nature has endowed us with all the resources necessary to fulfill our needs, let’s not exploit her and the way she has taken care of us, it is time that we too take of her.

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