IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 9th Nov 2020
“Dream big and dare to fail.” – Norman Vaughan
EDITORIAL HUNT #231 :“Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC”
Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC
Jairam Ramesh is an MP (Rajya Sabha) and a former Union Minister
COVID-19, climate and carbon neutrality
In the post-COVID-19 world, we should make efforts to ensure that the ‘G’ in GDP is not ‘Gross’ but ‘Green’
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Carbon neutrality : Climate Change
Discuss the hurdles faced by developing nations on their way to Climate and Carbon neutrality by 2050 . -(GS 3)
- Ecological disequilibrium
- Our key environmental issues
- A Worthwhile goal
- Way Forward
- CATASTROPHIC : To say that 2020 has been cataclysmic (disastrous) is to state the obvious and actually make an understatement.
- ECONOMIC PAUSE : The COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath can be seen either as a longish pause on the button of economic growth or as an opportunity for reset, recalibration and rethink.
- RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT : COVID-19 is undoubtedly a public health catastrophe and calls for enhanced investments in research and development.
- BIONOMIC OSCILLATIONS : More fundamentally, the pandemic reflects fundamental ecological disequilibrium.
- MAN MADE CALAMITY : Evidence has accumulated that loss of biodiversity and ever-increasing human incursions have contributed heavily to the outbreak of pandemic.
- IMMEDIATE REINFORCEMENT : COVID-19 also reinforces the need to pay far greater attention to the biosciences that underpin agriculture, health and the environment that are going to be profoundly impacted by the current pandemic.
- AIR POLLUTION : There is also now robust scientific evidence to show, for instance, how air pollution exacerbates the impacts of COVID-19.
OUR KEY ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ARE
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Chemical contamination
- Waste generation and accumulation
- Land degradation
- Excessive use of pesticides
- OLD SCHOOL MODEL : The traditional ‘grow now, pay later’ model is not only unsustainable in the medium- to long-term but also dangerous to public health in the short term.
- LIVING AT THE EDGE : We live in a world where climate change is a reality.
- GROWING INSECURITIES : No longer can we argue about uncertainties in the monsoon, the frequency of extreme events, the retreat of the Himalayan glaciers and the increase in mean sea levels.
- IMD’S LATEST REPORT : The Ministry of Earth Sciences called ‘Assessment of climate change over the Indian region’ is an excellent and up-to-date analysis that deserves wider debate and discussion.
- ANALYTICAL SKILLS AND MODELLING : This scientific understanding is essential for what may be a solution at one point of time but becomes a problem at another point and may even become a threat in a different context.
- GLOBAL WARMING : The HFCs are a potent threat from a climate change perspective since their global warming potential is a thousand times that of carbon dioxide.
- FIRST COMMITMENT : In September 2018, the American State of California — the world’s fifth largest economy in itself — was the first to commit itself to carbon neutrality.
- SETTING EXAMPLES : A few weeks before the world became aware of the COVID-19 catastrophe, the European Union followed California’s example but with the year 2050 in mind.
- OTHER PARTIES : Japan and South Korea joined the club by announcing their intention to do so by 2050, like the EU.
- INDIA’s GOALS : India too has to begin thinking very seriously about its level of ambition in this regard, especially since this will have public health consequences as well.
- HIDING EXCUSES : We cannot always hide behind the fact that our per capita emissions will continue to be low — that is obvious given the continued increase in the denominator.
- THE PARIS OATH : At the Paris climate change conference in December 2015, we committed to having 40% of our electricity-generating capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by the year 2030.
A BOLDER, MORE WORTHWHILE GOAL
- CARBON NEUTRALITY : It should mean that for a country, carbon emissions are equal to absorptions in carbon sinks, of which forests are one.
- OBJECTIVENESS OF PARIS AGREEMENTS : At Paris in December 2015, we made a commitment on carbon sequestration through forests but there are serious doubts on its credibility.
- STEADY APPROACH : Carbon neutrality, on the other hand, is a far bolder and worthwhile goal, the attainment of which has to be consciously engineered.
- TECHNOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS : It will involve massive scientific invention and technological innovation especially when it comes to removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
- HARNESSING RESOURCES : On our disappointing experience with nuclear energy: there is simply no silver bullet waiting for human ingenuity to harness.
- GEO-ENGINEERED SOLUTIONS : Of course, renewables are an integral part of the solutions we seek : they open up avenues for re-architecturing systems as a whole.
- SWITCHING THE GEARS : The post-COVID-19 world is an opportunity for us to make a radical departure from the past to make economic growth ecologically sustainable.
- INFRASTRUCTURAL BOOST : Much of the infrastructure we need for the future is still to be put in place .
- REVIVING GROWTH ENGINE : GDP growth must, without doubt, revive and get back to a steady 7%-8% growth path.
- BOUNCE BACK : India can and should show to the world how the measurement of economic growth can take place while taking into account both ecological pluses and minuses.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC