- India, USA, China & EU are the largest greenhouse gases emitters: Mr Kerry
- Best scientists are telling us that we have a short window to act: Mr Kerry
- 10 million people die every year due to pollution: Mr Kerry
New Delhi: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways. Taking in view the increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit of 1.5-degree Celsius rise being broken in just over a decade, the panel has issued a ‘Code Red’ warning for the humanity. In order to talk about how the world can address this climate crisis, Vishnu Som of NDTV spoke with John Kerry, Special US Envoy on Climate.
Also Read: Global Warming: ‘India Must Get Its Act Together Now’, Warn Environmentalists Predicting Extreme Climates
While talking to NDTV, Mr Kerry said that the United States of America, China, the European Union and India are the four largest emitters of greenhouse gases. He added that it is critical that the United States, India and others join together to lead the world to deal with the problem of the climate crisis. He said,
The reason behind the flood, the extreme weather is the warming of the oceans that is taking place. More moisture rising up into the atmosphere, travelling around the world and dumping record levels of rainfall. We have had them in the US too. So, between the fires, the drought, the floods, the mudslides, the warming, the glaciers melting and so forth, it is beyond time for people to get serious.
Producing More And More Of Renewable Energy Is The One Solution To The Global Warming: Mr Kerry
Mr Kerry acknowledged that India has taken an ambitious challenge of building a capacity of 450 Giga Watts of renewable energy over the next 10 years and will be able to achieve with use of better technology. He added,
We have announced partnership with India, in order to help make that happen and join together on research, development, on resilience, adaptation and do our part to try address this crisis.
On the argument that India is now being asked to become a net zero carbon emitter, despite countries like the United States having some of the most polluting economies — which triggered their economic growth in the first place — Mr Kerry said he understood India’s point of view.
Watch: Environmentalist Vimlendu Jha Decodes UN’s Climate Change Report And Takeaways For India
The problem is that mother nature does not measure whether it’s Indian gases or Chinese gases. It is the total amount that we have to deal with, Mr Kerry said.
But he also acknowledged that no single country could reduce emissions enough to solve the problem.
And so yes, there’s a reason to be concerned about the fact that India is still developing, but the choice is not between developing and not developing. We can address the climate crisis and develop at the same time, and we can do it in a responsible way with many of the new technologies, he added.
What Will Happen If We Breach The 1.5 Degree Celsius mark?
Mr Kerry reminded that the world’s best scientists are warning that we only have a short window of time within which to make decision and implement them to avoid the worst consequences. He said,
The damages that we are seeing right now are happening at 1.2 degrees’ rise. So, we have a 0.3 degree before we get to the 1.5. Every add-on of the decimal point of the degrees you get warmer means greater intensity of the problem, greater heat that the people are living in. Already people are struggling with the heat that we have. We lose 10 million people a year around the globe to pollution. Pollution comes from coal burning and from fossil fuels. So, we need to address these things.
He said that there are 20 nations in the world that are responsible for 80 per cent of all emissions and therefore, it is these 20 nations that carry added responsibility to help address the climate crisis.
While signing off, Mr Kerry stressed that people around the world need to make better choices that can help make a difference. He said that people should think about the kind of vehicle they want to drive and should rethink choices like what kind of good they buy and from where, food they choose to eat.
There are all kinds of personal choices that everybody can make every single day about lifestyle. Make the choices that help make a difference.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.