Our politicians in denial of climate change
- IPCC, gave a bleak assessment of the future of our planet and species. In its sixth assessment report, titled ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’.
- The IPCC discusses the increasing extreme heat, rising oceans, melting glaciers, falling agricultural productivity, resultant food shortages and increase in diseases like dengue and zika.
- As Per United Nations Secretary General IPCC is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”
- He added, “With fact upon fact, this report reveals how people, and the planet are getting clobbered by climate change”.
Findings of IPCC
- The IPCC warns that should our planet get warmer than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times (we are at 1.1 degrees at present), then there will be irreversible impact on “ecosystems with low resilience” such as polar, mountain and coastal ecosystems “impacted by glacier melt, and higher sea level rise”.
- This will cause devastation to “infrastructure in low-lying coastal settlements, associated livelihoods and even erosion of cultural and spiritual values.”
- The IPCC also highlights that climate “maladaptation” will especially affect “marginalised and vulnerable groups adversely, indigenous people, ethnic minorities, low-income households and informal settlements” and those in rural areas.
- Therefore, India, with a majority of its people falling in these categories, will be especially devastated.
Effects of climate change on agriculture
- When the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, the grains we consume, including wheat and rice, will have diminished nutritional quality. But we will not face a crisis in food.
- Over the past 30 years, major crop yields have decreased by 4-10% globally due to climate change.
- Consequently, India, which continues to be predominantly agrarian, is likely to be especially hurt.
Effects of climate change on Urban India
- Urban India is at greater risk than other areas with a projected population of 877 million by 2050 nearly double of 480 million in 2020.
- The concentration of population in these cities will make them extremely vulnerable to climate change.”
- We Indians know that we are experiencing the adverse consequences of the impacts of climate daily — the extreme heat, dirty air, poor quality of food grains.
- Our elders are mostly diabetic, and our streets are clogged with gas-guzzling vehicles.
- Yet, our political class has no cohesive and urgent policy roadmap to combat rising emissions and our diminishing life spans.