We Need A Concrete Roadmap For Climate Change
Column by Viral Desai, Environmentalist & Ecopreneur
The extreme forms of climate change problems are not new to us. In the past decade, we have seen many floods, unbearable heat, many heavy rains and many cyclones, in which we have also lost many people and faced the loss of crores of rupees. So we no longer need to imagine how dire the ferocity of climate change will be. We are facing it all. But now the time has come to see how much we will lose with the menace of climate change and on how many fronts we will incur additional costs. After all, the budget is the backbone of any country and it is very important that we have a roadmap to keep that backbone strong.
Before we talk about the roadmap, let’s take a look at some statistics. Statistics say that from 1950 to 2017, there were 285 floods in India. In which a total of 85 crore Indians were affected and according to government statistics, 71 thousand people have died. From the year 2017 to the year 2020, the incidents of floods or heavy rains have increased by seventy per cent. And six thousand crores of rupees have been spent by the Government of India or various state governments to meet all these calamities or to restore the lives of the people. That is, 4.80 crores of our dollars have been spent only on the disaster and calamities of heavy rains.
At the same time, sunstrokes, cold waves or cyclone storms have also been considered an issue of climate change. All these issues have been identified as extreme weather, which has killed one and a half million people in India alone in the last fifty years. And the United Nations gives a figure in this regard that only due to the devastation of extreme weather, India is suffering losses of seven lakh crores or 8700 crores of dollars every year.
Now, on the one hand, how can a country whose annual budget is around forty lakh crore rupees and which is still a developing country and for which health, infrastructure and education sectors are the most important priorities afford to spend seven lakh crore rupees on the ferocity of climate change? But the irony is that climate change directly affects the lives of citizens. At such a time, it can be understood that giving priority to the lives of citizens is the priority of any country.
Also, when it comes to health, it should also be known that climate change is causing serious damage to the annual budget of the country, and climate change is also causing serious effects on the health of the people of our country. Statistics are telling that all the industries of the country are dependent on labourers and due to unbearable heat or pollution due to climate change, there are serious effects on the health of the labourers. The toxic gas, dust and unbearable heat made it extremely difficult for the labourers to work and they fell ill due to this, which is directly affecting the productivity of various sectors.
Again productivity is being affected, so the economic loss is happening, but here the health concern of a certain section of the country becomes very important rather than economic loss. We have to be prepared to fight diseases and epidemics and save our generations from those diseases.
Now the point is that if climate change is going to harm our economy and our health sector to such a large extent, then the vision and roadmap that we prepare must be one that does not include some unnecessary costs and we must also adapt to climate change along with the pace of development. However, one thing must be noted here in the roadmap given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi; the target has been set that by the year 2030, we will get 500 GW of energy through renewable energy. And in the next ten years, we will get fifty per cent of our country’s energy from clean and renewable sources replacing coal.
This is a milestone; if we cross it, we will automatically resolve a lot of problems and issues. But along with this, an important point to be made is that if at present more than eighty per cent of our electricity is based on coal, then we cannot give crores of rupees subsidies for the promotion of electric vehicles. Because for one thing, we are facing many problems of pollution due to coal-based plants. Promoting electric vehicles now is tantamount to fueling more serious problems by increasing the use of coal.
Climate change is an additional and unpredictable burden on all of us that can derail our development journey at the international level in many ways. That is why at this time, as a country, we have to safeguard and act against climate change before it gets too late. So that we are also prepared for all future calamities. Also, considering the world as a global village, we have to reach the status of a developed nation and shine at the international level in the coming times.