Follow Us:
Thursday, January 20, 2022

Investing in environment

Investing in environment -- Delhi has suffered freak weather conditions for almost a month now. Several opinions have been voiced on the ...

Written by R K Pachauri |
January 25, 1999

Investing in environment — Delhi has suffered freak weather conditions for almost a month now. Several opinions have been voiced on the causes of such freak conditions, and a popular view doing the rounds in the cocktail circuits of Delhi blames everything on air pollution. This year’s winter has also exhibited peculiar weather conditions, which can be seen perhaps as symptomatic of a larger problem of climate change affecting the entire planet.

The year 1998 has been recorded as the hottest year throughout the world, but climate change is not merely a linear increase in the earth’s temperature, but also a function of changes in precipitation patterns, air and ocean movements across the planet. The concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the earth’s atmosphere, of which carbon dioxide is most prominent, has increased substantially since the beginning of the industrial revolution which set in during the middle of the last century.

The Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), which was negotiatedduring the Rio Summit in 1992, provides a basic direction for reduction of the emissions of such GHGs and for stabilising the earth’s climate system, but vested interests and a lack of statesmanship on part of world leaders in some of the most affluent nations in the world, have stalled progress towards reaching a solution.

One major grouping of parties with a vested interest that has been resisting adequate and early action, particularly in the US, is the Global Climate Coalition which opposes any agreement on reducing GHGs. However, several progressive companies are leaving this coalition, basically because their image in the public mind would suffer and perhaps adversely affect their business interests in the long run. This is also the outcome of a desire on part of several business leaders to adopt an environmentally responsible agenda, perhaps because they realise the damage that unmitigated emissions would cause to human welfare in this and the next generation.

Developing countries like India,which still have very low levels of emissions of GHGs, are not required to commit themselves to any reductions in GHG emissions as of now under the FCCC. However, there are several reasons why fossil fuels need to be used efficiently. Private vehicular transport continues to increase in Delhi, and two-stroke engines in both two- and three-wheelers continue to create serious damage to air quality. Not only would tackling local pollution reduce the threat to human health and welfare, but also do a small amount towards mitigation of global climate change, even though this is not required of India under the FCCC.

Indian society and particularly the corporate sector, need to get deeply involved in some mitigation efforts which present win-win opportunities. Companies can also look for projects whereby financial and technology transfers can be used for implementing such solutions locally under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) included in the Kyoto Protocol.

The CDM, for which rules are yet to be framed andaccepted by the parties to the FCCC, can allow funds from developed countries to be used for renewable energy projects, improvements in the efficiency of production and use of power, etc. These would lead to reduction of emissions of GHGs but local benefits as well. However, in all such cases local benefits must be the driving force for specific actions in a developing country like India, and it would be in the interests of corporate organisations to appreciate this reality.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard