Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 9th Nov 2020

“Dream big and dare to fail.” – Norman Vaughan

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #231 :“Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC

Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC

Jairam Ramesh
Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC

Jairam Ramesh is an MP (Rajya Sabha) and a former Union Minister

      HEADLINES:

COVID-19, climate and carbon neutrality

      CENTRAL THEME:

In the post-COVID-19 world, we should make efforts to ensure that the ‘G’ in GDP is not ‘Gross’ but ‘Green’

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Carbon neutrality : Climate Change

      MAINS QUESTION:

Discuss the hurdles faced by developing nations on their way to Climate and Carbon neutrality by 2050 . -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Ecological disequilibrium
  • Our key environmental issues
  • A Worthwhile goal
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

“Our environmental problems have profound public health consequences both in terms of morbidity and mortality and hence demand urgent actions.”

  • CATASTROPHIC : To say that 2020 has been cataclysmic (disastrous) is to state the obvious and actually make an understatement.
  • ECONOMIC PAUSE : The COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath can be seen either as a longish pause on the button of economic growth or as an opportunity for reset, recalibration and rethink.

      BODY: 

ECOLOGICAL DISEQUILIBRIUM

  • RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT : COVID-19 is undoubtedly a public health catastrophe and calls for enhanced investments in research and development.
  • BIONOMIC OSCILLATIONS : More fundamentally, the pandemic reflects fundamental ecological disequilibrium.
  • MAN MADE CALAMITY : Evidence has accumulated that loss of biodiversity and ever-increasing human incursions have contributed heavily to the outbreak of pandemic.

Understanding the three Es — evolution, ecology and the environment — will be key to identifying potential pandemics.

  • IMMEDIATE REINFORCEMENT : COVID-19 also reinforces the need to pay far greater attention to the biosciences that underpin agriculture, health and the environment that are going to be profoundly impacted by the current pandemic.
  • AIR POLLUTION : There is also now robust scientific evidence to show, for instance, how air pollution exacerbates the impacts of COVID-19.

Public health science and environmental science are two sides of the same coin. 

OUR KEY ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ARE

  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Chemical contamination
  • Deforestation
  • Waste generation and accumulation
  • Land degradation
  • Excessive use of pesticides

All have profound public health consequences both in terms of morbidity and mortality and hence demand urgent actions.

  • OLD SCHOOL MODEL : The traditional ‘grow now, pay later’ model is not only unsustainable in the medium- to long-term but also dangerous to public health in the short term.
  • LIVING AT THE EDGE : We live in a world where climate change is a reality.
  • GROWING INSECURITIES : No longer can we argue about uncertainties in the monsoon, the frequency of extreme events, the retreat of the Himalayan glaciers and the increase in mean sea levels.
  • IMD’S LATEST REPORT : The Ministry of Earth Sciences called ‘Assessment of climate change over the Indian region’ is an excellent and up-to-date analysis that deserves wider debate and discussion.

It also points to the need for making our future science and technology strategy in different areas anchored in an understanding of the impacts of climate change. 

  • ANALYTICAL SKILLS AND MODELLING : This scientific understanding is essential for what may be a solution at one point of time but becomes a problem at another point and may even become a threat in a different context.

EXAMPLE
HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons, that were at one time seen as the panacea to fix the depletion of the ozone layer.

  • GLOBAL WARMING : The HFCs are a potent threat from a climate change perspective since their global warming potential is a thousand times that of carbon dioxide.
  • FIRST COMMITMENT : In September 2018, the American State of California — the world’s fifth largest economy in itself — was the first to commit itself to carbon neutrality.

The aim was to achieve this by 2045. 

  • SETTING EXAMPLES : A few weeks before the world became aware of the COVID-19 catastrophe, the European Union followed California’s example but with the year 2050 in mind.

In September 2020, China stunned the world by declaring its goal of carbon neutrality by 2060.

  • OTHER PARTIES : Japan and South Korea joined the club by announcing their intention to do so by 2050, like the EU.
  • INDIA’s GOALS : India too has to begin thinking very seriously about its level of ambition in this regard, especially since this will have public health consequences as well.
  • HIDING EXCUSES : We cannot always hide behind the fact that our per capita emissions will continue to be low — that is obvious given the continued increase in the denominator.
  • THE PARIS OATH : At the Paris climate change conference in December 2015, we committed to having 40% of our electricity-generating capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by the year 2030.

A BOLDER, MORE WORTHWHILE GOAL

  • CARBON NEUTRALITY : It should mean that for a country, carbon emissions are equal to absorptions in carbon sinks, of which forests are one.
  • OBJECTIVENESS OF PARIS AGREEMENTS : At Paris in December 2015, we made a commitment on carbon sequestration through forests but there are serious doubts on its credibility.

We will definitely become a $5 trillion economy in a few years.

  • STEADY APPROACH : Carbon neutrality, on the other hand, is a far bolder and worthwhile goal, the attainment of which has to be consciously engineered.
  • TECHNOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS : It will involve massive scientific invention and technological innovation especially when it comes to removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • HARNESSING RESOURCES : On our disappointing experience with nuclear energy: there is simply no silver bullet waiting for human ingenuity to harness.
  • GEO-ENGINEERED SOLUTIONS : Of course, renewables are an integral part of the solutions we seek : they open up avenues for re-architecturing systems as a whole.

      IASbhai Windup: 

POST-COVID-19 WORLD

  • SWITCHING THE GEARS : The post-COVID-19 world is an opportunity for us to make a radical departure from the past to make economic growth ecologically sustainable.
  • INFRASTRUCTURAL BOOST : Much of the infrastructure we need for the future is still to be put in place .
  • REVIVING GROWTH ENGINE : GDP growth must, without doubt, revive and get back to a steady 7%-8% growth path.

However, in this post-COVID-19 world, we should make efforts to ensure that the ‘G’ in GDP is not ‘Gross’ but ‘Green’.
 

  • BOUNCE BACK : India can and should show to the world how the measurement of economic growth can take place while taking into account both ecological pluses and minuses.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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