Saturday, 5 November 2011

GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS IS REAL . . . . . . . . . . .

‘The Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘Our Choice’ by Al Gore are the two books highly recommended to understand the urgency of global climate crisis.
There is universality of opinion among the world community of scientists that global climate crisis is real and it will come, unless we wake up to it. We may have dispute about the opinion but we must not have dispute about the fact. About two three years back there was flood like situation in Mumbai and scientists attributed it to Global Warming. Katrina hurricane became intense because of Global Warming. There are thousands of such instances to prove that global climate crisis is real and it is a fact we must not deny.
Some people feel that the problem is so massive that no one can do anything about it. So we move from denial to helplessness. This is not a right approach. There is no helplessness. It is for all of us to act in a way that we can cope with this crisis.
Combating climate crisis is a long term battle. It may even cross our life span, but this battle has to be fought as if it is not fought, there will be a deluge and the entire world will be swept away.
Why the climate crisis is an inconvenient truth?
The truth is that the globe is warming is inconvenient because it makes us think to change our life and behavior and even our thinking in a manner that is not convenient to us.
There is a long list of what all we can do as an individual, as community and as government to deal with this crisis.
We need energy but is it thermal power plants that we need or the solar or wind energy? The answer is obviously the latter. But solar energy is very expensive. The state of Uttar Pradesh has a target of becoming self sufficient in power supply by installing 25000 mega watts thermal power plants by the next five years. All thermal power means contributing to global warming.You may question :Is it a right decision?We get electricity through thermal power generation plants which have high emission of CO2 . In case if these thermal power plants are stopped, what will be life with only 12 hours of electricity supply? Very inconvenient. We want 24 hours of electricity supply till we are alive and we get the same but through thermal power plants. Uttar Pradesh does not have hydro or nuclear plants . Wind and solar energy are cosmetics. You cannot live with that. You can not supply this energy to all the sectors of economy- domestic consumers, industry and agriculture . Technologies in this regard are not sufficiently developed and in case thermal power plants are stopped, we will face lot of inconvenience. That is why Al Gore said it is an inconvenient truth. The point is that solar or wind energy if produced at commercial scale will be very costly . As government, world community or opinion makers we have to correct the market signals.What are the market signals?Tax those projects that have high CO2 emission. Thermal plants are those kind of projects.
Help overcoming political obstacles at international levels. Americans may consume hundred times more energy than the Indians do but they want to have equal parameters when it comes to taking steps about global warming. That is the politics about it.
These may be difficult issues but as they say, charity begins at home. One has to be an active ,agile partner in this political process that ultimately assumes global dimensions.
For example it is told that the rail is more energy efficient compared to aviation but will anyone who can afford air travel decide today that he/she will travel by train instead of air? It is inconvenient in many other ways also.
Take the case of paper mills. Paper mills are one of the most energy inefficient sectors in the world. Should these be closed? We use paper tissues usually now in place of hand-kerchiefs simply because of convenience. Do we know that paper industries are surviving more on tissues and packaging than on writing papers but if we devise a policy resulting into the closure of paper mills, it will be highly inconvenient –what about the workers employed in the mills? What about the capital invested and loans given by the financial institutions? And we decide to let the paper mills continue and devise those technologies which will consume less water and energy .But when will those technologies be devised and what will happen to the global warming till then? These are the questions that surface the inconvenient truth before us.
If Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt can initiate Chipko Andolan and create change in entire Uttarakhand, why not we?
At individual level, there are four most important things one can do, as follows: 1. We must save energy. Consume less of every thing , as everything that goes into building any material requires energy. Become a conservative society instead of consumptive society.We are extracting natural resources in order to make our life more and more comfortable and ultimately at the cost of our future generation.
2. Plant more trees but then each of these should be maintained and protected.
3. Use Public Transport.
4.Use less paper and create more paper less offices. Use more information technology but then the issue of E Waste will also need to be addressed.
We will have to make compromises on our comforts and costs . We will not leave this problem for our future generation to pay for it. That would be highly immoral. In that case, we will start hating ourselves. If we do not take proper measures there will emerge a situation in future where the temperature will be very high, floods will be very frequent and things will become so difficult that it will be as good as death.
I do not have solutions but I surely know that we will have to take certain inconveniences if we are serious about global warming, climate change.
How do we go about it? In a way all our material progress is contributing to global warming. It has to be a total paradigm shift in the model of progress. Sustainable development where there is no or limited scope of thermal generation. Alternatives are very few and inconvenient.
Wherever we are ,we must know that global warming is real and we must take small inconveniences in our daily life to ward off the dangers that global warming imposes upon us.