–Written By Archi Aggarwal,
BBA LLB, First year
‘’Climate change is no longer some far-off problem;it is happening here, it is happening now’’
Climate is inherently variable. It changes from place to place and it varies with time. The world is now facing it’s most complex and serious issue in the form of climate change. Climate change today is the most concerned issue humans are facing on planet and the effects of climate change are undeniable and it may cause environmental, social, and economic threats to the planet. We already know and we can highlight various signs of climate change. They are: rising global sea level, widespread melting of snow and ice. Rapidly changing ocean and global temperatures, and other signs. So, what are the causes of climate change? Is it natural or being caused by human beings? Well, in both the cases it would be right. The natural factors affecting climate change are solar output, volcanic eruptions, and the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Also, human activities affecting climate change are deforestation, burning fossils, causing ozone hole and building mass destructive weapons and using them on earth that causes huge radioactivity on earth.
Whether we realise this or not, the drinking water scarcity problem that we see in many parts of India today is a direct consequence of climate change. India is vulnerable to climate change such as melting of Himalayan glaciers will produce floods in north India; erratic monsoons will create droughts in peninsular India.
Global action against climate change- not enough even if Paris Agreement is followed in letter and spirit- is weakening further, with countries like US and Brazil walking away from it.
Adaptation is like protecting yourself against a punch that will land. India has also been mitigation centric; it is time to bring focus on adaptation. An adaptive measure genetically modified crops. GM technology is a major component of climate smart agriculture. We would need drought- resistant crops, and crops that produce more on the same patch of land so that climate impairing ‘land use’ is minimised. GM technology has been used globally and millions of people have been eating GM foods for years.
Who has been affected the most?
Farmers may be most hurt by climate change, but other workers can be affected too. In industries such as construction, high temperatures can make life miserable for workers and decrease their productivity. According to the International Labour Organisation, the loss in productivity by 2023 because of heat stress could be equivalent of India loosing 34 million full-time jobs which is the highest among the world’s most populous nations.
Rising temperatures specially combined with humidity. Can even be fatal.
This summers in Chennai, locals were praying for some rain; in Mumbai, people were reeling under a deluge. Long ago, these extreme disparities may have been solely blamed on nature’s vagaries, but now science has established that human- induced climate change is playing a major role. Climate change, caused by emissions from industries and other human activity, is making the world warmer, disrupting rainfall patterns and increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. No country is immune to these events but India is particularly vulnerable.
Climate change is likely to make rainfall erratic, lead to rising seas and make extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods and heat waves like the one currently sweeping large parts of India- frequent, according to the latest report of United Nations body to assess climate science by IPCC.
Communities and livelihoods nationwide have already been affected by climate change, as India Spend reported in a seven-part series from India’s climate- change hotspots. Human activities have already caused warming of one degree Celsius compared to pre- industrial times, according to a 2018 IPCC report.
To frame a policy on climate change, India first need to have data. Where does the country stand with respect to understanding the impact of climate change across the country?
Say the impact on agriculture for rice, wheat, maize, millet, pulses, so on and so forth, we still have very limited data. In India, where agriculture is the livelihood of a majority of people, we still do not have a detailed assessment of the impact of climate change on rice, wheat, maize, jowar, pulses etc.
How should government respond to climate change?
The government should have a plan for each sector like agriculture, forests, health and infrastructure. For each of these factors we have to identify institutions, have a network and give a long-term mandate.
There is a need to identify the key factors and then to identify the key institutions who will oversee the project. The network built should be provided enough resources to continue the work.