In Focus: Climate Change


Is India prepared to tackle Climate Change?

Jairam Ramesh, former Union Minister for Environment and Forests, delivered a lecture on Warming Up to the Climate Change Challenge at the Asian College of Journalism on Friday, October 24. Here are some excerpts.

Jairam Ramesh at Asian College of Journalism.   PHOTO: The Hindu

Jairam Ramesh at Asian College of Journalism.
PHOTO: The Hindu

On climate change policies:

Climate change is a public health issue. India needs to pass legislation on trading system for meeting fuel efficiency standards in order to gain global community’s confidence on its commitment towards addressing problem of climate change.

Shared vision for long term cooperative action including long term global goal for emission reductions and enhanced national/international action on mitigation of climate change.

Supporting proposals on equity issues like African groups equity reference frameworks that advances the cause of equity in a practical way accepting a new change keeping in mind past, present and future.

International relations:

There is a dire need for international cooperation. There were many treaties in place such as the Kyoto Protocol to cut down two-thirds of the greenhouse emission, but no longer valid due to the pullout of major contributors such as the United States and China.

India should device policies in order to show commitment towards cutting green house emissions in UNFCCC meet that would be held in LIMA.

There is a need to introduce the concept of graduation by which countries become more responsible as they move up the equity ladder and that India must rework its articulation of equity and differentiation.

Climate change, an ideological issue:

The concentration of the tribal community overlaps with the presence of the forests with rich coal and mineral deposit; it becomes a threat to their livelihood. If the forests are cut down, then their natural habitat would be affected, in turn affecting their health. Thus climate change is not a political issue, but an ideological one.

Environment as a cost to be borne needs to be challenged and this attitude needs to be changed.

India’s approach:

Redefining the parameters of environment issue. Renewable energy is the future and India should be the leader of renewable energy in the world.

We need to view the era of a Green economy not as a threat but an opportunity in order to shift trajectories and incorporate responsibility.

Bringing in a rapid and inclusive growth that is sustainable for the future generation. India must develop scientific efforts to monitor and model its contribution to climate change challenge. India’s satellite capability should be used for ecological monitoring.