By Mayank Jain:
India is no longer a minor player in the international events and conferences. The country is home to a major chunk of the population on the planet and it wields immense power as well as responsibility in every international forum no matter how torn apart our internal conditions are.
This responsibility and good faith put upon India by western countries as well as our neighbours have been going in vain lately as India has made every attempt in recent times to thwart international climate change agreements and this has become a cause of widespread anger and resentment in the developed and ‘developing’ countries alike.
Climate change is something we just don’t care about in our daily lives as the elite Indian population is more worried about cheaper electricity instead of carbon emissions. On the other hand of the spectrum are the illiterate, suppressed and rural farmers and workers who toil day in and day out to fetch bread for their families and they couldn’t be less worried about something as trivial as greenhouse gases or chlorofluorocarbons.
The Montreal Protocol of 1980s saved the precious Ozone layer when the countries agreed to phase out use of CFCs from refrigeration and air conditioners but the manufacturers instead replaced it with hydro fluorocarbons which stimulate greenhouse effect. The Bangkok summit occurred last month when the participating countries gathered to update the Montreal Protocol but despite supporting the move for a long time, India surprised everyone by blocking out negotiations from happening.
This is not the only case in point as there have been several instances in the past three-four months where we have not only thwarted important agreements but also failed to take responsibility of stopping the climate change by curbing our emissions.Â In the Warsaw summit sponsored by the UN, India managed to block progress on the negotiations for HFC reductions. While the Indian media is flaunting it as a victory, it is actually a spiteful attempt by the country with second largest population in the world to escape conventions and promote reckless behaviour.
India is highly dependent on Coal and other polluting resources for its energy needs and this adds to the case of curbing emissions by hook or by crook to make sure it doesn’t find itself in problems later on.Â The problem doesn’t end here as India also diluted an important international agreement that was destined to reduce mercury pollution which is mostly created from coal fired plants in the country.
However poor and hungry our population maybe but this still makes no valid argument to flout international conventions against pollution and emissions and carry out whatever we want to in the name of being a ‘developing’ country. The lines between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries are fast blurring and the western countries are owning up to the responsibility of stopping the climate change and it’s high time India keeps aside its dirty politics games and does it too.
The point to be highlighted here is not how India is preventing these agreements from happening but the sad reality that most of us aren’t even aware of such things because media is conveniently ignoring it in their race for the TRPs sky rocketing during election season.Â The political parties on the other hand don’t want to get into muddy waters by talking about environment at such crucial times and signing these agreements will mean foreign helping hands will be needed to push the innovation and the whole nationalist agenda will go down the drain.
Dialogues, debates and brainstorming by the experts are needed on such issues of importance as the Paris Climate Conference of 2015 is staring us in the eye and we need to get our act together and start leading by the example.