No Plan B because there is no planet B
Hello and welcome once again to Electrical India, the leading publication on the power and electrical products industry in the country. So friends, if you recollect, just two months back in the April issue, I had asked a question, “where will this end” when US president Donald Trump went against his predecessor Obama’s policy on global warming, which includes emission rules for power plants. Well the answer did not take long time to come. The US president has, after all, decided to exit the historic Paris Climate Accord signed by Obama and leaders from 196 countries in 2015.
What was the Paris pact after all? To keep the global temperatures rise below 2°C (compared to pre-industrial levels). Today, he is blaming countries like India and China, who according to him get billions of US dollars in foreign aid to participate in the Pact. You can say China - after all it’s the world’s largest polluter at 10.64 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide followed by US at 5.17, European Union at 3.47. Mind you, India with one-fifth of the world’s population generates only 2.45 billion metric tonnes of CO2. India has, after signing the accord in 2015, received only US$35 million for the project undertaken by NABARD for a solar micro irrigation project in a tribal area of Odissa. Even that amount was only about 20% of the project cost which was about US$166 million. So the US president is wrong in his figures.
In any case, even though the US has withdrawn from the Pact, it doesn’t destroy it as more than 145 countries have already ratified it. Nevertheless, it definitely leaves a hole in the global emission reduction targets. The US was supposed to cut emission by about 28% by 2025. It is difficult for any country to fill this gap of about 28% cut in emission which translates to around 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Second no country can match the ability to raise funds like the US. Smaller countries that need foreign fund to go green will be hit. India, with its largely domestically-funded plans, will manage it as Prime minister Modi rightly said, “Paris or no Paris, India committed to climate protection.”
It reminds me of a speech in 2015 by Ban ki moon, then secretary general of UN and I quote, “we have to do what science tells us. Climate change is caused by human behavior. Nature does not negotiate with human beings. We have to adjust to nature. That’s our only choice. We must all act and work as one.” Trump’s decision has only galvanised the world than weakened, and this vacuum will be filled by new broad committed leadership. Will Mr. Modi assume the mantle of global leadership on climate change initiatives? Time will tell. However, for the moment, the social media and the internet has a new mantra - “We have only one planet. There is no Plan B because there is no planet B.”
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Publisher & Editor-In-Chief