Experts want Kumbh pilgrims tested | India News - Times of India


BATHINDA: As the world gears up for the global leaders’ summit on climate change, called by US president Joe Biden, it is heartening that climate change is back on the agenda. But the world is back to discussing all the wrong things; as we are in danger of once again losing the opportunity to drive home the need for ambition and equity in climate change action,” said Sunita Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), at an online webinar and media briefing ahead of climate summit.
‘What’s new in Climate Change’, the online event was organised by CSE to demystify all the current, relevant and key concerns and issues of climate change, as well as to understand what would be on the table for discussions during Biden’s summit.
CSE released its latest publication – Climate Change: Science and Politics – during the webinar.
“There is no question that climate change is real. With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating, climate change and its impacts could not have happened at a worse time. Human actions and mismanagement is compounding the problem – floods and the recent dam-burst in the Himalayas was the result of mismanagement of fragile ecology, exacerbated by climate change. In all this, our poor are the most vulnerable and the most severely hit,” said Sunita Narain.
“Biden’s global summit is a welcome step but will it yield any meaningful results, or will it simply degenerate into another meaningless discussion on net zero, is to be seen, said Narain.
CSE has interpreted net zero as nothing but “zero zero”. Says Narain: “It is nothing but a grand distraction, a so-called badge of honor – an example of science misinterpreted by the biggest polluters.”
CSE’s interpretation bases itself on the argument that net-zero is merely aspirational. Almost all the countries that have made declarations, have no plans on how they will achieve net zero status by 2050.
Moreover, as an idea, it is intrinsically flawed, claims CSE. “Net zero will allow countries to emit, with the presumption that the emissions will get mopped up, either by planting more trees in the hope that they will sequester the carbon that is emitted, or by using carbon capture and storage technologies. The problem is, none of this is proven yet. These technologies are not yet in existence, and the science of carbon sequestration by trees is still uncertain and unproven,” Samrat Sengupta, programme director of CSE’s climate change unit said.
Says Narain: “It would be logical then to say that if the world needs to be net zero by 2050, the developed countries needed to have already turned net zero or do so by 2030. Only then would it provide the space for countries like India — way below in the historical emissions and current emissions rankings — to declare a net zero goal by 2050.”
CSE points out that real action is possible — the US can walk the talk today if it wants. While its GHG emissions had dipped during the pandemic-induced lockdowns, they are on the upswing once again. Says Sengupta: “As per 2019 estimates, the US will not be able to meet its Paris commitments (a 25-26 per cent cut in emissions below the 2005 level by 2025).”
CSE ask Biden to raise domestic ambition. Set a domestic target for 2030 which is ambitious and equitable, proportional to the US’s contribution to the stock of emissions in the atmosphere. According to Climate Action Tracker estimates, to be ambitious and fair, the US needs a humungous 57-63 per cent cut below the 2005 level by 2030. CSE researchers say that the US must accept that countries need their right to development. “Climate justice is a pre-requisite for ambition and action,” Narain said.
It asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi Call for real action by 2030 from the big and historical polluters, including China. Ask for actions that will set the reduction targets – including net zero – to be based on climate justice. The country needs to cut its GHG emissions for its own benefit. “We must be climate-smart and do development differently,” Narain said.
CSE says the big nations must make every effort to meet the 450 GW renewable energy target by 2030. Do not derail implementation of the coal thermal power emission standards. Do not stall the move towards cleaner coal.

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