CHENNAI: Even as negotiators from across the globe reached a climate change agreement in talks in Peru on Sunday, environmental activists here are disappointed. They term it yet another failure by governments in taking meaningful steps towards containing global warming and the huge cost that people across the globe have to pay for it.
They say the signs of climate change are already imminent and the agreed reduction in rate of increase of greenhouse gases is too little to be considered meaningful.
“We may be enjoying the rains in December. But we must remember it’s not the natural pattern and it’s unusual to have such rains in winter,” says K Mohanraj of Tamil Nadu Green Movement.
The agreement had already come under criticism as the emission reduction target was far short of what is needed to prevent drastic rise in global warming. “From the details that emerge, it seems we may not get a proper draft that will have a roadmap to contain global warning. The continued talks by world governments are not working and the governments are impotent in making bold decisions. So it is for the people to take up the cause and force the governments to act,” says Leo F Saldanha, coordinator, Environment Support Group.
“The US-China deal is a big disaster. The last ten years’ statistics show that the official carbon emissions of US in 2005 peaked to 5.9 billion tonnes and in 2012 it was 4.3 billion. On the other hand, China’s keeps increasing by half a billion each year. So, lets assume that in 2030 the two countries’ emissions are reduced by 350 million. When we add up both their emissions it will still amount to 18 to 19 billion tonnes of Carbon which is a lot more than what the Earth can take. Unless we question growth, all this will end in failure,” opines Nagaraj Adve, Indian Climate Justice Network. G Sundarrajan from Poovulagin Nanbargal points to the accountability factor. “The main issue is responsibility. Who will take it? It is a common responsibility. But the ones polluting more, like the West, must do their bit. Besides, the talk is mostly about ‘more adaptation techniques’, while what is needed are talks and solutions on ‘mitigation’. Till then it will be difficult.”
The experts have also criticised the stand of the Indian government in the climate talks. “Our environment minister Prakash Javadekar had said that India will be made a solar nation, which is impractical and unfeasible. Our government has almost taken a stand that we are going to burn as much coal as we want. If our politicians are not taking a decision just because it will make them unpopular, then it shows they are concerned only about the next election, not the dangers our planet may face,” says Saldanha. However, right after the climate talks, Javadekar defended the deal, saying, “The aspirations and main concerns of the least developed countries and developing countries are addressed. India pro-actively engaged with the developed and developing worlds to arrive at a negotiated settlement based on the principles of the convention.”
“The Lima agreement will further erode the differentiation between developed and the developing countries. The burden of tackling climate change will decisively shift to developing countries making their efforts towards poverty reduction and sustainable development difficult and will be expensive,” says CSE Director Sunita Narain. CSE researchers said India has not gained or lost anything in the short term, but will lose in the longer term as the principle of CBDR has been further diluted. This deal will lead to a much weaker climate agreement in Paris under which countries will not do much till 2030.