Unseasonal rains and devastating floods in various parts of the country have underscored the impact on our lives due to climate change. A recent report by the UN’s IPCC Working Group I has warned that as many as 12 Indian coastal cities face the risk of going underwater by 2050 if the current pace of global warming continues unchecked.
A recent report, ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region’ by the ministry of earth sciences (MoES) reveals that India has warmed up 0.7° C during 1901-2018. All this has underscored the urgent need for nations to set aside their differences and commit to tackling global warming on a war footing.
The upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, scheduled to start by the end of this month, has therefore assumed critical importance, with many experts warning that these talks could be the ‘last chance’ for the planet to, if not stave off, at least mitigate the most devastating outcomes of global warming. India, which will be represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the talks, needs to take the lead by setting more ambitious NDCs (nationally determined contributions) and pressure the developed world into not only accepting steeper targets, but also agree to finance the investments required for the world as a whole to get closer to containing rising planetary temperatures.
It can do so from a position of moral authority, having ranked among the top ten countries in the Climate Change Performance Index for the past two years. With India slated to overtake China by 2027 as the world’s most populous nation, its consumption will have a signal impact on the globe. Leading by example, it can blaze an alternate path for the world to follow, balancing development with climate responsibility.