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$30 billion economy 'will likely cause' climate emergency, death, destruction, social chaos

By Shankar Sharma* 

An interview given by Ritwick Dutta, Supreme Court advocate and founder of the Legal initiative for Forest and Environment, is probably one of the best, authoritative and most forthright opinions expressed on the general approach of our government with regard to environment/ecology in recent years. Because of his association with various legal cases on environment/ecology, he seems to know well what he has said.
Pointing out that the National Wildlife Board an active agent in environmental destruction, he is quoted as saying, "There is a strong belief in the government that one of the major hurdles to India becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy are the environmental laws and regulations."
It should be so easy to endorse every statement in this interview, which is very apt and timely. I only wish that more and more of our community leaders, practicing advocates, high profile individuals, activists, media barons, captains of the industry, political leaders etc., take courage/ pains to speak or write so frankly.
Whereas, we can easily notice gross indifference/ obstinacy associated with our bureaucrats and ministers with regard to the opinions/ concerns of civil society, including that of domain experts, retired officials and the ex-ministers, those of us, who are really concerned with the ever degrading status of the environment, cannot afford to lose hope in our sustained efforts.
Recently, one Union minister was reported as having stated that the country will soon attain $30 trillion economy status (by 2030?). While we are seeing so much destruction and deprivation (to the vulnerable sections of our society) of nature's bounty because of the frenetic pace of economic activities even in a $3 trillion economy, it should send shivers down the spine just to imagine a $30 trillion economy.
We are seeing so much deprivation of vulnerable sections because of frenetic pace of economic activities even in $3 trillion economy
If and when such a status is reached, the critical elements of nature would have crossed a point of no return, and the worst fears about climate change would have been present in all nooks and corners of the country.
Assuming that India can reach this target of $30 trillion economy, it would by then be seriously struggling with death, destruction and social chaos due to multiple impacts of climate change. Such a large size of the economy cannot be of any use to most sections of our country in such a calamitous scenario.
It is shocking that our bureaucrats, ministers and politicians are unable to read what is clearly written in front of them: a fast escalating climate emergency scenario. The unacceptable levels of pollution/ contamination of air, water and soil in many parts of the country should have been viewed by our policy makers as unambiguous indicators of serious challenges ahead of us.
It is even more unfortunate that most of the other leaders of our society, especially the political parties, also appear to be unmindful of what is brewing in front of their own eyes. It is unbelievable that we are not concerned about the fate of our own children/ grandchildren.
The associated concerns for civil society are multiple and very serious.
Power & Climate Policy Analyst



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