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Climate change: Indian politicians, babus 'not ready' to even protect 5% of land area

By Shankar Sharma* 

A team of researchers from Arizona State University has said in a detailed study report: "Protecting half of the planet is the best way to fight climate change and biodiversity loss --  we've mapped the key places to do it".
Few other studies have also come to similar conclusions.
The World Economic Forum had said: "We’ve already lost 60% of terrestrial wildlife and 90% of the big ocean fish. Approximately 96% of all mammals on earth are humans and our domesticated livestock. Only 4% is everything else, from bears to elephants to tigers. We now risk the extinction of 1 million species during this century.
“Losing these species and all the goods and services they give us would mean the collapse of our life support system and everything we care about and need to survive: our food, our health, our economy, our security – everything. Some argue that we cannot protect more ocean because soon we will need to feed 10 billion people – they recommend we need to develop a new ‘blue economy’.
“But this is a myth. We cannot take more fish out of the ocean by fishing more. And we cannot have a blue economy from a dead ocean. Already over three-quarters of fish stocks are fished beyond sustainable limits, and The World Bank suggests that we can only catch more fish if we cut almost in half the effort the world spends fishing."
The report “A Global Deal for Nature” has said: "Humans are dismantling and disrupting natural ecosystems around the globe and changing Earth’s climate. Over the past 50 years, actions like farming, logging, hunting, development and global commerce have caused record losses of species on land and at sea. Animals, birds and reptiles are disappearing tens to hundreds of times faster than the natural rate of extinction over the past 10 million years."
But our bureaucrats and politicians are refusing even to protect 5% of our land area in the form of Wildlife Sanctuaries, and not to allow even 33% of the land area to be covered with trees and forests.
Various kinds of industrial and commercial activities are only increasing in such areas thereby leading to more and more exploitation/ destruction of biodiversity. It will be unthinkable for them to even conceptualise "protecting half of the land area to fight climate change and biodiversity loss". In such a gloomy scenario what can we hope for to protect our communities from the ravages of climate change?
In such a global crises-like scenario, the obvious steps should be to protect and enhance the health of every biodiversity left on the surface of the earth.
But there are some sections of the global community, tiny though, which are still talking about 'stagflation', 'economic slowdown', 'increased demand for energy', 'burning more fossil fuels', 'opening more coal fields and coal power plants' etc.
Various kinds of industrial and commercial activities are increasing leading to more and more exploitation/ destruction of biodiversity
Says business editor, ABC News, Ian Verrender, " ...For at a time when even arch rivals can agree on just one issue — reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and coal in particular — demand for the dirty, black energy source is soaring and consumption is roaring back to life. In what must be the ultimate irony, given US President Joe Biden is leading the push for lower carbon emissions and to remove coal from electricity generation, American power plants are on track to burn 23 per cent more coal than last year."
An article raises alarm that that coal as not an unreliable source of electricity and that there isn't enough focusing on life threatening concerns. It says, coal is an unreliable source of electricity generation that is heavily dependent on a long supply chain. Another article says, concrete is the world's 3rd largest CO2 emitter. Yet, our ministers seem to be happy to open more coal mines and burn more coal. What can we say about such a policy which is not only irrational but also life threatening?
While it is not clear as to how the launching the energy map of India is so important at this juncture, NITI Aayog certainly has not covered itself with any glory because it has failed to finalise the National Energy Policy even though the draft of the same was released in 2018.
It is shocking that no one in the government seems to be concerned about the lack of a clear policy while many ad hoc decisions are being announced without any sort of coherence. Without such coherence, India's revised INDC to COP 26 can also be said to lack adequate credibility.
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*Power & Climate Policy Analyst, Vijayanagar 1st stage, Sagara, Karnataka

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