Environmental Challenges in Twenty-first Century and the Indian Response
If there was any remaining doubt about the urgent need to combat climate change, two reports issued in recent years should make the world sit up and take notice. The first report issued in Feb 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the Physical Science Basis On Climate Change. The report states that globally averaged increase in temperature since the mid-20th century “very likely” resulted from an observed rise in concentration of green house gases (GHG). Another report on the economics of climate change prepared by the former chief economist of the World Bank, Sir Nicolas Stern, for the British government gives this important message-“not doing anything to reduce global warming is no longer a valid choice”. The report says, the global warming has the potential to shrink the global economy by 20 percent and to cause economic and social disruption on a par with the two World Wars and the Great Depression.
The message, it seems, has finally gotten through: global warming represents a serious threat to our planet. In almost all the resent world summits like- WEF, G-8, UN General Body Meeting etc. world leaders saw climatic change and environmental concerns, for the first time, topping the list of global issues. Europe and Japan have shown their commitment to reduce global warming by imposing costs on themselves and their producers, even if it places them at a competitive disadvantage. The biggest obstacle until now has been the United States. A paradigm shift, however, in US policy is visible after Bali Summit held in Dec 2007 in Indonesia. In fact, opinion regarding environmental degradation and climate change has accumulated over many years to become a compelling obligation. It has become very difficult for US to stand alone and hinder any development on climate correction at world summits.
A striking fact about climate change and environmental degradation is that...