CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change does not respect border; it does not respect who you are – rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call ‘global challenges,’ which require global solidarity.

Ban Ki-moon

Climate Change is a serious global environmental concern. It is primarily caused by the building up of Green House Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. Global Warming is a specific example of the broader term „Climate Change‟ and refers to the observed increase in the average temperature of the air near earth’s surface and oceans in recent decades. Its effect particularly on developing countries is adverse as their capacity and resources to deal with the challenge is limited.

Scientific studies have shown that the global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide which are the most important Green House Gases, have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values.[1]

National policy-makers have been enacting climate-related laws and policies with increasing frequency. Even prior to Paris, a near-global assessment of climate change laws and policies in 2015 found that 804 existed, nearly double the number in 2009. More importantly, at least 58 countries have enacted framework legislation that addresses both emissions mitigation and adaptation.[2]

This means it is critical to understand the political economic power structures, relationships and incentives of different domestic actors and institutions. Social security and social protection can play an obvious and powerful role in reducing vulnerability, enhancing adaptive capacity and absorbing the residual impact of climate change not buffered by adaption measures. Social security and protection systems are not, however, automatically responsive to climate change and may have to adjust the functioning and funding mechanisms[3]. Most of the people are not afraid of Climate Change as it is very difficult to visualise, a study shows. People in many parts of the world may have a tendency to think that it will not be a problem in their lifetime[4]. Fear is a useful and positive motivator of behavioural change and therefore “scary” is acceptable when we talk about Climate Change. The world is, finally, getting serious about the threat and hence has given some positive signs.

Great hopes were vested in Kyoto Protocol but were soon the hopes sank as United States rejected the treaty, followed by Australia. An effective global agreement was to reach in 2009 at the international gathering at Copenhagen but it also failed catastrophically. A giant step was taken at Paris Convention in late 2015 but what we should hope for is the question!

We should be optimistic but it is an empty optimism if we don’t define the outcome we are optimistic about. The numbers have made it hard or easy for the world to achieve the goals of the Paris convention or not cannot be stated at this point but we are definitely stuck between the political query and the scientific question. Is the change reparable or are we defenceless..!! The widespread notion that the climate is something we can fix later—after more pressing priorities have been addressed—may be the biggest obstacle to actions and policies that would slow global warming, avoid some of its worst potential impacts, and allow more time for humans and other species to adapt to a changing climate. Even though scientists have repeatedly emphasized the urgency of the situation, their message isn’t getting through to the general public or to legislators who could make a difference.

Should the past be re-written or the future is to be re-constructed? Should people be made scared so that they pay attention? Whether we will find meaning and joy in a world that is failing increasingly to resemble the one in which we all came to consciousness or there is a going back. An asteroid from space has been converted into patterns of human actions. The Paris convention and the recent developments have made us realise that it’s better to shift in high gear rather than to sit and freeze in terror. Surely, there is no magic bullet solution. A lot remains to be done.

!!…Because good planets are hard to find…!!


[1] http://164.100.47.134/intranet/CLIMATE_CHANGE-INDIA’s_PERSPECTIVE.pdf

[2] Nachmany et al., 2015.

[3] Climate change, law, Policy and Governance, Editor, Prof. UshaTandon, University of Delhi, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, 2016

[4] Psychology is the missing link in the climate change debate, Adam Corner, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/cif-green/2009/oct/26/psychology-of-climate-change

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