After two decades of climate negotiations, the time has come to champion a new climate treaty. But let's step back from mitigation and adaptation, renewable energy, climate deniers, climate science for minute. What lies at the heart of climate problem? What is this amorphous issue that is difficult to frame and even harder to resolve?
The 90s were a pivotal decade for the climate change movement—it saw the birth of the world's first international climate change agreement to curb GHG emissions, and the rise a revolutionary treaty that single-handedly saved the Earth's ozone layer. Since then, little headway has been made in the world of climate negotiations: not a single binding treaty, no universal ratification. So let's rewind time and explore the last two decades of climate leadership.
So far, we’ve been looking at climate change through the lens of energy and mitigation. This month we will look at adaptation, the neglected stepsister of the climate change family. UNDP defines climate adaptation as: "a process by which strategies to moderate, cope with and take advantage of the consequences of climatic events are enhanced, developed, or implemented." Simply put, adaptation is about protecting ourselves from climate threats today and in the future.
Adaptation is a tricky beast. Despite the high physical vulnerability and low adaptive capacity of the Indian population, little is being done to address issue of climate adaptation at the policy level in India. Unlike its proactive neighbors, Bangladesh and Nepal, India has not developed a National Adaptation Plan or any other framework or planning document that organizes adaptation activities in the country.
Feast your eyes on these stunning and evocative pictures from the instagram account, Everydayclimatechange. A group of photographers from five continents came together to document compelling climate change evidence and post it on our most accessible forms of social media. Everydayclimatechange is not an account as much as it is a movement that captures the impacts of climate change on real people in real places around the world.
Climate solutions can be broken down into two broad elements: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (so we can escape the much-feared "4°C warmer world") while adaptation helps vulnerable populations adapt to the changing climate (so we are better equipped to survive in the inevitably warmer world). In this issue, we will get a better understanding of what the Indian government and our brilliant citizens have been doing to mitigate the effects of climate change at international, national, state, and regional levels.
December was an important month for climate change. The 2014 UN Climate Summit in Lima brought together diplomats from around the world to prepare a blueprint for future emission reductions. In the months leading up to COP20, India was particularly vocal about how it would not commit to any internationally-binding emission reduction targets. While it is easy to be frustrated by India’s stance on climate change, which puts development above everything else, it would be irresponsible to not acknowledge the government's efforts to combat domestic climate change.
Only three hours from frenetic Mumbai, The Machan is a commercial "eco-resort" with thirteen treehouses nestled in its verdant forest. Unlike other hill stations, it is 100% off-grid and generates all its electricity from renewables. So naturally, I had to have a conversation with the owner of The Machan about the origins of his environmentally-sustainable business.
Climate change and energy are inherently and irrefutably linked. Research suggests that 82% of anthropogenic carbon emissions come from energy-related activities. Sure you know all of this, but here's the real kicker: India is on the verge of rapid and unprecedented economic growth. So how do we meet our burgeoning energy demands without destroying the environment and pouring noxious gases into the air we breathe?
Energy has become the lifeblood of modern society. Energy, when converted to electricity, powers everything we know and love—from computers, mobile phones, and light bulbs to cars, planes, and trains! But like all good things, our precious electricity comes at a cost! With the help of this handy energy primer, let's get a refresher on where our electricity comes from, and why some sources of energy are cleaner than the others.
Our world is changing. Temperatures and sea levels are rising. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is in a state of "irrevocable melt." If we continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate, global surface temperature will increase by 4-6ºC by 2100. At these temperatures, civilization as we know it will collapse.
...is a question I've been asked countless number of times. Like all good environmentalists, I ramble on about changing weather patterns, higher frequency of natural disasters, how we are all doomed, etc. While this makes me Delhi's most boring party guest, these questions got me thinking about the public perception of climate change and its impacts in India. How does the Indian public think about climate change? Do we see it as an immediate threat?
An overwhelming majority of scientists around the world believes that human-induced climate change is happening. They believe it poses a significant threat to our world, and they are scared. However, it's not the immensity of the threat that scares them—they are afraid that people are not doing enough to combat these changes. Here is a beautiful, moving photoessay that captures scientists' visceral reactions to climate change.