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THE POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

2 10


By Dr Khursheed Ahmad Wani

Climate change is happening much, much faster than one may think. [But] where there is political will, anything can be done.” Ban Ki-Moon

 

The climate has changed drastically; dramatic weather events and unpredictable seasons have become day today phenomenon. Our day today strategy has not changed and we did little to build for a resilient future. Till date the politicians and policymakers have completely failed to tackle the global warming although it has serious effects on future generations. There is a need to make connections between the events that may occur due to climate change like melting of polar ice, heart waves, loss of biodiversity etc and act seriously. If not recognized, these catastrophes will vanish everything from us within due course of time. The deaths and damage that may be caused due to climate change will kill the entire ecosystems without our knowledge and we will never know how it happened, how it spread and the only responsibility will be on the shoulders of politicians like Donald trump as his assertions are at odds with scientific consensus.  Although, every one of us is responsible and if we don’t take on that responsibility we are shoving it on to our children and no parent should do that in any circumstances.

The statements of politicians for their personal gains have made this movement very week and almost it has lost credibility while speaking with a common person. Actually, we are yet to understand the scale of threat posed by climate change although research in this direction has gained momentum over the years. Some politicians speak the urgency and the threats of climate change, but fail to implement the measures that are necessary to arrest the global warming in their respective states. The Government of Jammu & Kashmir did nothing for the solutions of this problem, although its effects are evident from every ecosystem of the state. The State Government never bothered to stop deforestation, stop illegal operation of brick kilns, arrest the indiscriminate sand mining in the water bodies, check the ever growing transportation fleet, urbanization along the banks of Dal lake and Wullar lake.  The recent years were the hottest years in the history of earth, the Arctic ice is melting fast, the Antarctica ice sheets are melting rapidly, the Kolahoi Glacier has reduced in its size and what is happening to the permafrost; is not these an issue of debate among the political parties. The political parties all over the globe failed in binding carbon budgets due to lack of progress in cutting emissions from different sectors. Although, much more money is being invested in cutting carbon emissions than preparing for the climate change impacts that are already unavoidable. As it is evident more wildfires will occur across the globe, similar situation may be witnessed in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Very little has been done by the political parties to protect people from the heat waves, storms and floods being supercharged by climate change.  It aims to reconstruct the political will to act that was smashed when US president, Donald Trump, rejected the global Paris agreement. Unfortunately, the level of solidarity against climate change was slacken off by the statements of Trump administration. Even though it is just one country, it has caused big political damage.

The political parties initiated low-cost options, such as onshore wind farms, home insulation and tree-planting to fight climate change, but the progress achieved is not appreciate at any cost.  Although, in this direction things would have been better and new innovations might have helped to curb the climate change. The examples can be taken from UK that has invested more in low carbon innovations. We have to think locally, and need to invest in infrastructure and public engagement with low carbon technology at individual level and similar deals must be taken into consideration with private sector. The political parties have to spend more on R&D and small investments will not work here, funds must be regulated to a firm/sector/lab/institute without political interference and must be based on merit and innovation.

(The author teaches Environmental Science at GDC Bijbehara & is associated with ALACC Naina)