Type in climate change and every graph on your screen will appear redder and angrier. This has been the result of gross neglect by many countries since the 1990s. After tedious negotiations for more than two decades, a momentous feat was finally achieved.
Climate change is affecting more and more people everyday.
The Paris Agreement was a landmark event where for two weeks 196 countries, that accounted for 97% of global emissions, were made to pledge together to stop the global heating to rise above 2 degree Celsius than the benchmark set by pre-industrial levels.
But was it helpful? A report titled The Truth Behind Climate Pledges revealed that to make the vows of the Paris treaty a reality, the world would have to cut emissions by 50% by 2030. In the same year, 2017, UNEP recorded emissions of 55 billion tonnes, an increase from 2015’s 50 billion.
A 17% decrease in carbon emissions was seen due to the pandemic-induced lockdown. But this highlighted one grim truth – even with factories and transportation coming to a halt, the rate of emissions didn’t reach the desired target of 50%
Amongst the top 10 countries producing the most emissions, except India, all countries range within 3C and 4C + range. India too with its ‘compatible’ results has seen an increase in 300% emission in the last two decades alone.
With the completion of five years of the Paris Treaty, world leaders come again to address the most pressing issue. The virtual summit comprised 76 countries and the EU, yet major polluters of this year Australia and Brazil were not given a spot.
Heavy participation was seen from the South Asian countries – China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. China, the most emitter of carbon dioxide, vowed to go carbon-neutral in the next 40 years. The EU too decided to slash their emissions by 55% by 2030. The UK pumped up its goal from 48% to 68%.
But a key issue we can’t grasp is the destruction we already are in. As the UN secretary-general puts it “Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back“.
Australia, Amazon, and the American West burned while the Arctic continues to melt. The world is losing forests the size of the UK per year. The first half of 2020 saw more than 200 disasters worldwide.
The cost of climate change will be paid by all. But agricultural economies like India will pay hefty prices. Already Nigeria has paid its price. Many such incidents suggest we already are in a climate emergency.
Despite the many promises offered by the government, no concrete results can be seen. This can be seen as the Climate Change Performance Index repeatedly keeps its first three ranks empty. As “no country is doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change.”
As I write this I personally experience its ill effects in the unprecedented rains in December in Mumbai. The apocalypse is unfolding right in front of our eyes. Climate change is upon us.