The IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) had recently issued a warning of a severe heatwave hitting some of the states of India. These include Rajasthan, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha. There is a high possibility of this being one of the many consequences of climate change.
Our planet has been riling up with floods, storms, droughts, loss of habitat and worst of all, wildfires, for the past 5 years. It is all a result of climate change. The earth is warming up due to extreme carbon emission, a human activity that needs to be reduced drastically.
While many feel that the hype over climate change is needless, understanding the threat it poses to the very survival of our planet is essential. If the earth keeps heating up, the majority of regions of the planet will become unhabitable. Due to the heat and dry weather, farmlands will turn into deserts. Waterbodies too will warm-up, making survival for underwater species difficult. An example of this is the Great Barrier Reef of Australia which has lost half of its corals already. Further, cold and frozen places like Siberia too are facing the brunt of climate change. The ice ground has begun to melt making it difficult for Polar Bears to survive. Similarly, the waterbodies are running dry leading to water shortage. Animals like Elephants will also have to struggle as they require more than 100 litres of water each day.
Further, the wildfires that burn away the trees and the melting of frozen lands that help trap greenhouse gases, will release these gases back into the atmosphere. This will worsen the living conditions for all living beings.
To avoid this, countries need to come together and collectively reduce their carbon emissions. As a part of the COP26 summit, countries set out their carbon reduction plans for 2050. India too was a part of it. At the summit, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said, India is aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
Net-zero refers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible and then balancing out the excess release. This is done by absorbing the gases from the atmosphere using other ways such as planting as many trees as possible.
India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US. It is still largely dependent on its fossil fuels for energy. Further, since India’s economy is still in its growth trajectory, the demand for fossil fuels like oil and coal are most likely to rise in the coming years. Thus, achieving the net-zero target by 2070 is not going to be a cakewalk for the country, however, it is very much achievable.
Strategic planning, efficient execution of plans, investing in decarbonization technologies, thoughtful deployment of duties at all administrative levels, relying more on renewable sources like solar and wind, and creating awareness among the citizens, are some of the ways in which India can achieve its target successfully.