Apropos of the page “COP21 Paris Climate Talks” (FE, December 1), the event has generated worldwide public support for mitigation of climate change. Needless to say, the decisions taken at the summit by the world leaders will determine the fate of the Earth. Far from a passing fad or a cause dear to environmentalists alone, climate change is one of the most serious challenges we face. It can imperil life on Earth if timely measures are not taken to tackle it. There is empirical evidence for the “glocal” phenomenon of climate change and its link with the increase in carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere from human activities. An IPCC report has held the pursuit of unsustainable economic development as the main cause of “runaway” global warming. “Climate justice” and “common but differentiated responsibilities” are being invoked by the poor Asian, African and South American countries at the negotiating table. It is justified since they have to strike a balance between pulling their populations out of grinding poverty and limiting their emissions of greenhouse gases. The “spoiler” tag cannot stick to India for the simple reason that with one-fifth of global population, it emits only 3% of the cumulative global total and is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 over 2005 levels, in addition to creating an additional forestry-based carbon sink of 2.5-3.0 billion tonnes as part of its INDCs. Countries that are largely responsible for carbon pollution resulting in acceleration of weather changes by their profligacy cannot put forward the “same boat” argument to force the poor countries to share the potential cost of reducing global warming without differentiation. They cannot term the demand of the poor countries for funds, technology and change in global trade rules as “blackmail”. Before asking the poor countries to shelve or go slow on “industrialisation”, the affluent countries must go fast on a switch-over to non-fossil sources of energy and “de-carbonisation” to stabilise global warming. Hopefully, the Paris summit, billed as an epoch-making event, will succeed in coming out with a blueprint acceptable to all.
G David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
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