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What India Can Learn From These 6 Countries Leading The Way In Climate Action

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WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

In an effort to reverse the adverse effects of climate change, we must reduce carbon emissions and boost dependence on renewable energy. Even more, we need to plan for the already-emerging negative outcomes of changing environments. Conquering the fight against climate change is not a task that a few countries can achieve individually. It will take global action and collaboration.

Six Countries Which Are Leading The Way In The Fight Against Climate Change:

1. Denmark

Deemed the most climate-friendly country on the globe, Denmark is on the path to be entirely free from fossil fuels by 2050. With the most efficient strategies for decreasing carbon emissions and using renewable power, it is also a top pick for international students when it comes to environmental education. The state has also developed an excellent plan for coping with the impacts of extreme weather.

2. Norway

Like the other Scandinavian countries, Norway takes climate change seriously. It has pledged to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2030 and strives to reach “net-zero” emissions by 2050. But Norway’s most significant claim to fame is its vigorous attempt to clean its transport sector.

As of 2017, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids valued for half of the new vehicles retailed in the nation. And in March of this year, electric vehicles alone made up almost 60% of brand-new car purchases. By 2025, the administration wants that figure to be 100%. The government grants generous incentives for electric vehicles, such as suspending some of its high taxes and accommodating purchasers with loads of perks, like electric-only parking lots in cities. Norway has also spent in-vehicle charging maintenance and satisfies most of its energy with clean hydropower.

3. China

China’s new investments in renewable energy are remarkable. Home to the world’s biggest solar farm, it is the world’s largest investor in domestic solar energy and is also increasing its investments in renewable energy abroad. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), it has introduced more than 34 gigawatts of solar potential in 2016, more than twice the number for the U.S. and nearly half of the total added capacity globally that year.

China has also spent heavily in low-carbon transportation. By sheer amounts, it is the largest electric car market in the world, and it holds 99% of the world’s electric buses. There, the motive is partly to clean up urban air quality and encourage domestic innovation.

4. France

Home to the international Paris Agreement and the worldwide struggle against climate change, France has long been a global pilot in climate change policy. The nation endeavours to reduce its emissions by 75% in 2050. Thanks to the creation of nuclear energy, serving 80% of nationwide power production, France has already decreased its greenhouse gas emissions.

President Emmanuel Macron lately stated that the French government is encouraging climate change researchers to live and work in France, with all their costs paid. The government will be awarding four-year grants to researchers, graduate students and professors who are working vigorously on tackling climate change.

5. Sweden

Sweden has enacted a law that requires the government to cut all greenhouse emissions by 2045. The climate minister has asked for the rest of the world to “step up and achieve the Paris Agreement.”
With its power coming from renewable sources and a successful recycling program, the country leads many enterprises on climate change. The OECD Environmental Performance Review in 2014 stated that it is an innovative nation when it comes to environment-related technology.

6. Costa Rica

Costa Rica may be small, but what it lacks in area, it makes up for in drive. The country has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. And in February, it published a detailed blueprint for how to do it. If it cuts to that plan, it will ease the world limit warming to 2 degrees, and it will be almost sufficient to reach the 1.5-degree target.

The country has already stopped some of its most vital emissions sectors. It gets 80% of its power from hydroelectricity and most of the rest from other renewables. It has also succeeded in reversing the trend of deforestation that tormented the land in the 1960s and ’70s. Since that time, Costa Rica has multiplied its forest area.

Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover since the 1970s and plans to increase it further—to 60% of the country’s area—under its climate plan. (G Adventures)

Most of its emissions come from transportation. The government hopes to grow the percentage of electric cars. But it would eventually like to make public transportation primary option, particularly for city residents. By 2035, it wants a bus fleet formed by 70% electric vehicles and an electric train system to carry people between centres.

This is easier said than done since the state generates a notable fraction of its income from gas taxes. But Costa Rica is taking the predicament seriously; revising its tax system is a pillar of its decarbonization plan. Costa Rica also intends to promote sustainable building and execute a national compost strategy.

What India Is Doing About The Climate Crisis

India stands second in world population and third in greenhouse gas emissions. It is one of the world’s developing economies, having some of the largest energy requirements. India’s current administration understands this and has started several federal-level renewable energy-related policies.

A worker walks past solar panels at the Roha Dyechem power plant at Bhadla, India. The country has dramatically increased its solar power capacity in recent years. (Money Sharma /AFP/Getty Images)

Consequently, the nation is on the way to becoming the third-largest solar market in the world. As solar power has become more affordable than coal in India, the country is leading notable energy and economic change. It will be the host of the International Solar Alliance, to present some of the most impoverished nations around the world with solar energy support. These factors have joined to make India’s solar power the most inexpensive in the world.

However, most of its power still comes from coal-fired plants. But commentators say it is a guide for incentivising the accelerated expanse of renewables.

What India Can Learn

According to the Climate Action Tracker, India lies on the compatible range of meeting its goals in accordance with the Paris Agreement, despite its population and increasing demands for energy. However, there is a lot of scope for India to improve and meet its objectives.

The report, ‘Truth Behind the Climate Pledges’, issued by the Universal Ecological Fund, the United States of America-based nonprofit research group working on issues related to climate change, provided an analysis of climate pledges. The specialists consisting of climate scientists placed the countries based on their commitments to decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases and recognised flaws in the voluntary pledges.

The team examined the 184 voluntary pledges by nations under the Paris Agreement. It is estimated that some of the world’s biggest emitters like the U.S., China and India would proceed to raise emissions. Other than pledges, the paper authors used data from other official records offered by governments and news by international agencies, for the examination.

India is the fourth highest GHGs and CO2 emitter in the world, accounting for about 7% each. India’s CO2 emissions per person have multiplied since 1990, but its historical emissions were low, and current emissions are lower than most industrialised nations. Currently, a person in India produces less than 2 tons of CO2 per annum, which is less than what a person in Sweden emits. Its climate pledge includes three targets:

1. India’s GHG emissions have risen by about 76% between 2005 and 2017 and are assumed to continue to grow due to economic maturity. Its CO2 emissions have more than doubled over the years 2005 to 2018. India’s pledge to decrease its emissions intensity is indeed encouraging, but it will not succeed in a reduction in GHG emissions under current levels.

2. India has increased its installed electricity generation potential by three-fold since 2005, with 57% of its production still reliant on coal. The non-fossil fuels electric power capacity has developed as well from 30% in 2005 to 35% in 2018, of which 20% are renewables. Thus, by maintaining this increasing trend, India could manage a 40% non-fossil-based power capacity quicker than 2030. However, renewables are becoming cheaper than coal-fired power plants in India; the development of non-fossil fuels electric power may not recompense for the lack of action to reduce the share of electricity generated by coal.

3. Indian forest cover sums about 24% of its geographical range. Since 2015, the yearly increase of the carbon stock has been 71.5 metric tons of all GHGs combined. The aim of creating an added total carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2-eq depicts a median annual carbon sink of 167–200 MtCO2e over the years from 2016 to 2030. Thus, to reach the objective, India would have to double its current pace of forest cover expansion.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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