Monday September 23, 2019
Home Environment People Least ...

People Least Responsible for Climate Crisis are Most Vulnerable to Risks Associated with It

But just over the last few years, Bolsonaro in Brazil has allowed deforestation to take place unchecked under his watch

0
//
Climate, Crisis, Vulnerable
The "war on nature must end", Greta Thunberg appealed as she reached the shores of America. Pixabay

When a 16-year-old girl who has avowed air travel has to cross the Atlantic in a solar-powered race boat to speak at a conference on climate change while the Amazon rainforests are still burning in evidence to everything she has argued at the highest public forums, it is evident that the adults in the room are not doing enough. The “war on nature must end”, Greta Thunberg appealed as she reached the shores of America. But just over the last few years, Bolsonaro in Brazil has allowed deforestation to take place unchecked under his watch while the Trump administration has been handing out leases of public land and waters for oil and gas drilling that are estimated to produce more carbon emissions than the entire European Union does in a year.

In the face of the world’s biggest crisis, a few world leaders seem to be moving in the opposite direction in denial. The myopic economic interests of countries have clearly taken precedence over the global environmental concerns regarding climate change. Nevertheless, the impact of the climate crisis has not been more evident than today through the unpredictable weather conditions and changing trends in climate, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, as well as ocean acidification. Warming temperatures triggered by greenhouse gas emissions have increased the frequency and intensity of floods, droughts and storms across countries and regions. However, the consequent environmental degradation does not have a uniform impact on countries with varying levels of economic development.

A recently published study by researchers from the Stanford University has found that between 1961 and 2010, the poor countries with lowest carbon emissions suffered bigger losses as compared to wealthy countries with highest emissions. The study emphasized that most poor countries of the world are poorer, and the rich countries are richer due to the impact of global warming. The ratio between incomes of the richest 10 per cent and the poorest 10 per cent of the global population has been estimated to be 25 per cent more than it would have been during that time period otherwise.

A similar impact has been observed within countries where people who are least responsible for the climate crisis are the most vulnerable to the risks associated with it. The local communities living in rural parts of developing countries (that are already at a disadvantage) are directly affected due to the consequent impact on agricultural production, water availability, industry and human health. As a result of rising inequality among and within countries, India’s GDP is estimated to be 31 per cent lower than it would have been without climate change. By contrast, the GDP of Canada and EU are 32 per cent and 9.5 per cent higher respectively.

Climate, Crisis, Vulnerable
When a 16-year-old girl who has avowed air travel has to cross the Atlantic in a solar-powered race boat to speak at a conference on climate change while the Amazon rainforests are still burning in evidence. Pixabay

These findings further the ongoing debate on the division of responsibility for causing climate change and its mitigation. Historically, developed countries have had a major contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions which makes it imperative for them to lead the fight against climate change and its adverse effects. The fact that their development which caused climate change muted the growth prospects of the next wave of developing countries puts additional onus on the developed economies to make efforts to address the crisis.

Given that all countries continue with their efforts to promote an ecosystem of sustainable production and consumption, the developed countries should not only take responsibility for their own actions, but also compensate for their negative contribution of the past. In 2015, the Global Climate Fund was created with the objective to support the efforts of developing countries to tackle climate change through investments in the form of grants, loans, equity and guarantees. In addition to financial assistance, transfer of green and clean technologies to the low-income countries could further stimulate their transition to become green economies. Thus, a comprehensive action plan should be advanced to encourage adoption of sustainable alternatives by providing fiscal incentives, regulatory support for resource-incentive sectors and building of climate-resilient infrastructure in developing countries. Stringent laws regarding green subsidies and carbon taxes levied on traded goods and services could initiate the establishment of carbon-free markets. Green innovation through investment in research and technology could also play a key role to find global solutions to the global issue of climate change.

Also Read- CDC Confirms Nearly 900 Cases of Mumps among People at Adult Migration Detention Facilities across US

Therefore, global value chains based on cooperation and coordination have the capacity to enhance productivity through innovation-driven production processes. International forums and bilateral trade agreements should also focus on enabling the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies for renewable sources of energy, water conservation and waste management from developed to developing countries. Lastly, since leaders like Trump and Bolsonaro cannot be expected to alter their stance on climate change, currently it is only the people who need to do their part by changing dietary habits, for instance, until the developed world can lead by example. (IANS)

Next Story

G20 Nations Unable To Meet Paris Agreement On Climate Action

G20 nations are collectively not on track to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, but they have huge opportunities to undertake rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions

0
G20 Summit, climate action, Paris, agreement, climate
Ministers and delegates gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Japan, June 15, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. VOA

G20 nations are collectively not on track to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, but they have huge opportunities to undertake rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, a new UN research has said.

An advance chapter of the 2019 Emissions Gap Report, released on Saturday ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit slated to open on Monday, has said that the G20 members, which account for around 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, were not yet taking on transformative climate commitments at the necessary breadth and scale.

The report showed that around half of the G20 nations’ GHG emissions trajectories fall short of achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Taken as a whole, the current NDCs are nowhere near enough to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius or below two degrees temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

This means that the world is still on the path to a catastrophic temperature rise of well over three degrees this century.

However, the advance chapter points to key areas where G20 nations can rapidly step up action when they submit their next round of NDCs in 2020.

G20 Summit, climate action, Paris, agreement, climate
Young people afraid for their futures protested around the globe Friday to implore leaders to tackle climate change, turning out by the hundreds of thousands to insist. Pixabay

“We can only avoid planet-altering climate change with the full commitment of G20 nations to a zero-carbon future. So far, they haven’t done enough” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

“But the good news is that every G20 nation has an array of nationally appropriate actions available to them to slash their emissions. Combined with strong political and societal support for climate action, there has never been a better opportunity for policymakers to take these actions.”

The full Emissions Gap Report, due for release in late November, will contain a detailed G20 update.

ALSO READ: India To Become Global Steel Manufacturing Hub By 2031

The 2018 report said the G20 would need to cut an extra 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2030 to meet their unconditional NDCs.

For conditional NDCs, the number is 3.5 gigatonnes.

According to the report, nations must at least triple the level of ambition of their current NDCs to have a chance of keeping global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius.

To keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees, they must increase their ambitions five-fold. (IANS)