The discovery of the energy driven machines was celebrated by humanity as the first milestone in the process of industrialization. The energy needs for these machines was fulfilled by the combustion of fossil fuels. Industrialization started in the West and slowly the whole world was trying to place itself in the race of industrialization. The ‘need’ for energy became a ‘greed’ for energy. Various fossil fuels were being burnt tremendously filling up the atmosphere with harmful gases. The rise in the atmospheric temperature due to high concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) was discovered in the earlier 20th century by scientists, but this finding was dismissed by the meteorologists. Following this there were other findings which confirmed that the CO2 concentration was rising in the atmosphere.
Climate change debate
The noticeable damages caused by humans to the nature led to the first United Nations Conference on Environment in Stockholm in 1972. Although the focus of this conference was not on climate change, it showed that the impact of human activities on nature was getting serious. The second major breakthrough on the issue took place at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, organised in 1992, with the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This was the first international response on climate change. Since then, there have been major discussions on the issues related to climate change ranging from the skepticism to the counter measures. In the recent years, most of the nation states of the world have joined the table for discussing climate change.
Man Vs Nature
On 3rd June 2015 it was reported that Union Earth Science Minister of India, Harsh Vardhan blamed climate change for the unprecedented heat waves which took a toll of more than 2000 people in India. The immediate next day, the Indian Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar stated that climate change may be a cause for the heat waves and delayed monsoons, but that that was not the only factor. Agreed. Climate change may not be the only reason for the heat waves or the delayed monsoon, but it is a clear fact that human activities are responsible for climate change. The mode of energy consumption is tremendously adding the green-house gases in the atmosphere, eventually raising the global temperature. And unfortunately huge forests are being cut down to satisfy our greed of industrialization and urbanization. The situation is getting worse. Countries like India and China, which used to blow the trumpet of not taking any responsibility to mitigate emissions, are facing severe pollution issues. Their development path does not seem to be a sustainable one.
The recent documentary, “Under the Dome”, filmed by environmental activist Chai Jing, presented a shocking reality for those living in China as well all around the world. In the document, sad realities such as the one of a small girl who claims to never have seen a blue sky, are portrayed. The picture of people wearing masks on the roads to escape the harmful gases and smog is also quite tragic. India is not doing much better, recently Delhi, the capital of India, was termed as ‘The Asthma Capital’, whilst the times of India also recently published a WHO report which blamed Delhi for its worst air quality in the world.
The scientific fact that human activities are responsible for the climate change cannot be denied. No matter how many international negotiations take place, most of these end up as a blame game without really solving the problem. The deals are becoming too complex as every nation is coming up with a pretext to throw away its share of responsibilities on others; the issue of climate change requires much more than what has been done. The developed countries need to provide financial support and green technologies to third world and other countries. The rapid developing countries like India, China, Brazil etc. need to pay more attention towards the sustainable development. Rather than blaming the developed countries, they need to join hands with each other to promote green energy. Apart from nation states doing their share, we as individual stakeholders and as a collective community also need to do at least our share of responsibilities, in whichever way possible. Nature is calling and we cannot afford to ignore it now, Mother Nature has nurtured humanity for so long now it’s our turn to ‘Nurture the Nature’.