A note from Shankar Sharma

On the article - "India could see 200-fold increase in heat wave exposure"
Appeared in Down to Earth

Dear all,
For anyone, who has a modest understanding of the nature around us, the gist of this report should not come as a surprise. There have been telltale signs of such calamities in various forms and magnitudes all over the country.

Instead of worrying about the numbers associated with the Carbon emissions, it would be critical to consider how the elements of the nature around us are getting eroded at an ever-accelerating pace, and what we can do about it. For, the increase in Carbon emission related numbers may not increase dramatically if we move over to 100% RE in the next 25-30 years, which is feasible provided we have the necessary political will. Even assuming that this can happen in our own life time, and if we continue to destroy the forests around us, reduce the overall vegetation cover, increase industrial, commercial and construction activities to such an extent that there can be no arrest of the pollution/contamination of air, water and soil around us, our communities will face almost all the calamities associated with the Climate Change.

Hence, it may not be out of turn to suggest that such reports from elite institutions can only serve a very limited objective on the associated issues, which have already occupied our minds. What is needed is specific and unambiguous recommendations for the various governments to take all possible measures urgently to minimise the pollution of air, water and soil while completely stopping the diversion of natural forests in our country.  Sadly, we do not come across such specific recommendations from such academic institutions. They seem to be afraid of recommending drastic action plans, even if they are considered essential.

Such an approach at the country level will need a paradigm shift to our developmental perspectives, such as taking a diligent review of the high GDP growth rate policy on a perpetual basis, as has been practiced by the successive governments since 1990s. Can we expect any of our academic institutions to think on these lines? I have not come across any article questioning such a paradigm in India, even though the same has been questioned by the Club of Rome in 1970s itself. Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) of UK has come to a similar conclusion in its report 'prosperity without growth'.  Our economists may not even like to think on these lines.

So, it is left to the CSOs to do that job.  But the question is whether the CSOs have the necessary human and financial resources to sustain the pressure on the governments to think rationally?

Shankar Sharma

Apr 07, 2018

Shankar Sharma

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