In the past few weeks, several parts of the world have been witnessing unusually extreme winter weather. It has been snowing in regions like the Texas state, Mexico, Mediterranean Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan, that haven’t seen snowfall in decades at this time of the year. Several regions experienced record low temperatures which disrupted the power grid, water supply lines and also businesses- especially at a time when the global economy is slowly staggering back to its legs. This unusual condition is being attributed to a phenomenon called the ‘polar vortex outbreak’.
Since August 2018, when Greta Thunberg initiated a protest in front of the Swedish Parliament, there have been hundreds of similar “climate strikes” across the world. This, along with extreme weather conditions like unpredictable monsoons, extended droughts and frequent cyclones are doing little to make the global leaders undertake measures to address this issue. At the UNFCCC’s 25th COP that was held in Madrid last year, global leaders were unable to move forward to fulfil the commitments they made in the 2016 Paris Agreement. Although India has been more proactive than many other nations in dealing with the global climate crisis, it too has fallen short on the implementation. If the necessary steps are not taken soon, the decade we are going to embark on is going to be a lot more dangerous due to the rapid, out of control climate change.
Coral Reefs are one of the most dynamic ecosystems of India. The coral reefs not only provide sanctuary to a myriad of marine life but also play a key role in protecting the coastline from erosion. In recent times, due to global warming and other reasons, coral ecosystems worldwide have been under threat. The global environment protection efforts give high importance to the coral ecosystem and research to protect them. Recently one such research by the University of Queensland, Australia revealed that dead corals are as important as live corals as more life can be supported by dead coral remains than live corals.
With a population of close to 1.4 billion and a fast-growing economy with enormous potential to grow, India’s energy mix in future years will be critical for the climate action targets of the world and India itself. India is already the third-largest energy-consuming economy after China and the United States. In this backdrop, India’s solar energy targets are discussed widely for its ambitious targets, the strategy to achieve it, and the gap between current status and required efforts. The debate came to the fore once again when the Prime Minister in recently Inaugurated a 750 MW solar project in Rewa district Madhya Pradesh.
Recently, Uganda became the first African country to submit Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) results to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). According to Food and Agriculture Organization, the result submission paved the way for result based payments to the country. In this context, it is important to study REDD+ and its role in climate action.
Drought is a recurrent calamity that has grappled India over decades and centuries. An isolated subcontinent of India provides for unique climate conditions coupled with the variety in geography, the characteristic southwest monsoon has dealt with severe drought conditions in the past. The developmental needs, increasing population and climate change have been creating conditions of drought. The drought and its management is important governance and developmental issue.
Four and a half years after nations negotiated the Paris Climate Agreement (now ratified by 187 of them), the global climate change action is taking place at a slow pace. Though there is incremental progress in the activities, the finance issue is still looming large as the main contributors, the developing countries are yet to meet their obligations. In this background, it is important to take stock of the Climate finance regime as we are lagging behind the targets and the gap between what is to be done and what is being done is increasing.
Carbon emission trading is currently one of the popular approaches used by policymakers to mitigate climate change. However, there is a growing number of cases of countries or private players exploiting the flaws or loopholes that exist within this mechanism. Reforming to address these gaps also seems to be a difficult feat as there are interferences from powerful players involved in pollution, making it highly unreliable. Thus, there is a need for a new approach, the one that comprehensively addresses the existing limitations and transparently reduce emissions while also promoting the inclusive economic growth of the countries.
The annual UN Climate Conference, 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) in Madrid, became the longest on record, following more than 2 weeks of fraught negotiations. Nearly 27,000 delegates went to Spain’s capital in early December last year aiming to finalise the “rulebook” of the Paris Agreement. However, the COP25 failed to address the issue of climate change despite yearlong demonstrations and demands across the globe to mitigate it. Mere technicalities hindered the progress that needs to be made by the global community to safeguard the future generation and the vulnerable biodiversity.