Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and a promise to fight the climate crisis
The Indian government is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, 75 years of independence, across the country. The celebrations started 75 weeks before August 15, 2022 and will run until August 15, 2023. One of the most important aspects of the celebrations is “Shatabdi Sankalp”, a pledge we make on behalf of the country for 2047, the 100th year of independence.
As every ministry and department of the Indian government frantically designed their campaigns to commemorate Amrit Mahotsav, on August 9, 2021, 5,000 km from the Arabian Sea in Kenya, a critical and foundational report was released by the Group of intergovernmental experts on climate change. (IPCC). The report’s findings were damning. It has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that humans caused glaciers to retreat, humans acidified the oceans, humans raised ocean levels, and humans heat the world at a rate unprecedented. Scientists used the extremely probable and highly likely phrases to make accurate predictions. However, in general, there is no longer any doubt. We are in the midst of a pandemic. And the pandemic is in the midst of a giant, huge disaster. And the disaster is our fault. If our habits continue in the same direction, the end of human existence is near.
Every 0.5 degree Celsius increase in temperature will dramatically increase droughts, severe cyclones, and extreme heat waves. And these increases, above all, are irreversible for millennia. The first step in escaping mass destruction is to immediately achieve zero net CO2 emissions. This means, removing as much CO2 from the atmosphere as humanity generates. It comes at a cost to the inhabitants of the earth, some of whom are rich and others of whom are poor. How to divide the cost among the different countries of the world is the question that no one has an answer.
In the 161 years between 1850 and 2011, 80% of emissions came from developed countries. During those 161 years, the foundations were laid for strong economic growth in the West. Growth at that time was relatively cheap. The West created trade monopolies – consumer associations and antitrust law did not exist to control them. They suppressed dissent – the concept of human rights was still in its infancy. They muzzled the press – freedom of speech was limited to intellectuals – and they used fiscal policies to both enrich themselves and deprive the colonies; Third World sovereignty did not exist. And more importantly, they polluted the environment – climate change policy was centuries away.
The path to growth during this era was not slowed down by the “flourishes” of the 21st century. Developing countries, meanwhile, began their growth with crumbling economies, malnourished populations, empty coffers and a slavish education system. Then came the concepts of free trade, anti-monopoly rules, a free press, and the Bretton Woods systems. These concepts have been beneficial in bringing order and balance to the capitalist and globalized economy of the late 20th century and the 21st century. However, these new rules also brought costs and complexities that developing countries were not adapted to. The results were not surprising. With the exception of China, growth rates in most of the former colonies have been modest.
We need to look at the recent EU proposal to impose tariffs on countries producing “carbon-intensive products” in this light. Goods that are manufactured using processes that rely heavily on fossil fuels will be subject to additional tariffs when imported into the European Union. No price to guess which part of the world the tariffs are aimed at. Development.
An average Indian takes almost four years to create the same amount of fossil CO2 as an average European creates in one year. While home to 18% of the world’s population, India has so far contributed only 3% of climate change. Despite this, India is one of the very few countries on track to deliver on its promise to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP from 33% to 35% by 2030. With 38% electricity capacity from non-fossil fuels, India is only 2 percent below its 2030 target of 40 percent. In addition, India has taken several measures to tax fossil fuels. On the other hand, consider the promises of developed countries. An estimated $ 100 billion has been pledged each year to help and assist developing countries adopt and transform into clean economies; 11 years have passed, bringing the outstanding amount to $ 1.1 trillion. However, until 2018, the paltry sum of 78 billion dollars was raised by developed countries. Now, with the proposed carbon tariffs, the logical question is: are the burdens imposed on developing countries fair? Not even from a distance.
As international organizations and sovereign governments continue talks to reach a long-standing resolution to the climate crisis, there is an urgent need for each person to take a break and take a close look at their own lifestyle choices. The time may have come to change societal attitudes about how polluting goods like food, water, fuel and electricity are used. The era of plenty seems to be coming to an end soon.
While we pay a few thousand dollars to replace our smartphone every year, no one seems to care about the 13,000 gallons of water used to create this phone or the cost that extracting minerals like tin, tungsten, lanthanum and tantalum impose on the environment. This has multiplied by 3 billion, the number of smartphone users in the world. That’s several trillions of liters of water. With each launch of a new version of a smartphone, millions of people around the world, glued to their TV screens, anxiously watch as charismatic executives announce the unveiling of their best smartphone with darkest blacks and rams. fastest ever. The same interest, however, was not present in the launch of the latest IPCC report, which by its own admission was the most ambitious round of research ever, providing the most recent knowledge on climate change, compiled by experts. hundreds of scientists around the world who volunteered to prepare this seminal work. The world’s priorities at this point appear to be different and significantly skewed.
As we celebrate Amrit Mahotsav and unite to praise our homeland singing Vande Mataram, remember that every aspect of Bharat Mata which is praised in our national song is an ode to its generous nature, its ability to support human life and its abundant and inexhaustible natural resources. Sujalam, its rich waters, Suphalam, its abundant products, Sheetalam malayaja, the cool mountain breeze, sasya shyamalam, its fields dark green. So, as we take our Shatabdi Shapath, all swear to protect the Bharat of our national song in our choices and our lifestyles. Either we pay a price today or our children will have to pay the price tomorrow.
Subhash Jangala is an Indian Revenue Service Class 2011 Officer, currently assigned as Co-Director in New Delhi. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of the Government of India or this publication.
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