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Opinion: Learning From The COVID-19 Pandemic About Climate Change

Every state will need to have its own unique policy blueprint for how it can contribute to climate change while also helping residents enjoy the benefits of a transition to clean energy and a low-emissions economy, writes Suresh Kumar Kotla and Divya Banerjee from the Institute for Sustainable Communities

Opinion: Learning From The COVID-19 Pandemic About Climate Change

To understand the kind of havoc that climate change can wreak, one can exert examples from the COVID-19 spread and its implications, but for a much more extended period. The loss of lives and economic misery caused by the pandemic reflects what will repeatedly happen to the world if the carbon emissions are not eliminated. A report by Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change (2020) includes novel indicators on heat-related mortality, migration and population displacement, urban green spaces, and the economic costs of labor capacity loss due to extreme heat. The magnitude of the indicators has intensified scientific understanding of how climate affects health and puts stress on health systems. Treatment of the resultant health conditions depends mainly on healthcare sectors’ capacity, which relies on the resilience of health services, which is already overstretched.

Also Read: Despite COVID Pandemic, Carbon Dioxide In The Air At Highest Level Since Measurements Began

Both COVID-19 and the climate crisis have revealed that the underprivileged and marginalised sections of society are always the most vulnerable to such disasters. According to a report by the Guardian, 100 companies are responsible for 71 per cent emissions and the world’s richest 10 per cent make 52 per cent of the world’s income, who are responsible for 50 per cent of emissions; the poorest 50 per cent get only 8 per cent of the world income and are responsible for only 10 per cent of emissions. Unfortunately, those impacted the most have usually contributed the least to the root causes of the crisis.

While the innumerable intertwined crises have impacted the nation – (health, economy, inequality, and leadership), we need to infer ways to become more responsible and sustainable, as the clock is ticking.

Also Read: What Are The Learnings From The Pandemic That Can Help In Restoring Our Earth, Experts Speak

According to a report, the green recovery could cut expected emissions in 2030 by up to 25 per cent and boost the chance of keeping temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius by up to 66 percent.

Supporting net-zero-based technologies and infrastructure, reducing dependency on fossil fuel subsidies, and promoting nature-based solutions must be prioritised. More than 189 countries have joined the Paris Climate Agreement, representing more than 81 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and developing long-term plans to decarbonise their economies.

To date, the energy sector — including electricity, transport, manufacturing, buildings, fugitive, and other fossil fuels — remains the most significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions over any other industry, representing 73 per cent of global emissions in 2017.

Opinion: Learning From The COVID-19 Pandemic About Climate Change

Sector-wise greenhouse gas emissions in India from multiple data source (CAIT, PIK, UNFCCC, GCP)

The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the importance of transparency and leadership in building trust. Similarly, strong leadership will be needed to tackle climate change. The lessons learned from COVID-19 can be applied to address the consequences of climate change in a more informed manner.

Also Read: Global Warming Responsible For One In Three Heat-Related Deaths, Study Affirms

The governments are spending a colossal amount of stimulus plans to rescue their ailing economies, mainly addressing job losses and the economic damage inflicted by lockdowns. There is massive scope to heading the cash flow towards reducing carbon emissions.

As per the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) of India, the target for capacity addition from renewable energy is the lowest in 2019-20, indicating that the sector needs urgent policy and financial support. According to the target set by MNRE 12.8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity has to be added from five major sources that are — wind power, solar energy, small hydro electric power, biopower, and organic waste materials.

Also Read: Net Zero By 2050: International Energy Agency Calls For Unprecedented Transformation Of How Energy Is Produced

The first annual jobs census measuring employment from decentralised renewables for rural electrification in Africa and Asia has estimated that by 2023 the sector will create 4,00,000 jobs in India – including 1,90,000 direct, formal jobs – almost double the current number, as well as 2,10,000 direct, informal jobs. Supported by Schneider Electric Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, the census (surveying India, Kenya and Nigeria) aims to spotlight the energy skills needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 ─ access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. In 2018, the energy demand was 12,12,134 GWh, and the availability was 12,03,567 GWh, i.e., a deficit of 0.7 per cent.

According to the Load Generation and Balance Report (2016–2017) of the Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA), the electrical energy demand for 2021–2022 is anticipated to be at least 1915 terawatt hours (TWh), with a peak electric demand of 298 GW. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), a quarter of India’s energy demand can be met with renewable energy. India has set itself some ambitious targets with aiming 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity by the year 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.

Also Read: Global Carbon Emissions Set For Second-Biggest Increase In History: International Energy Agency

Along with the lower cost of utility scale projects, mass production, and awareness, attractive Government policies and regulations with regards to boosting the energy efficiency sector, will play a pivotal role in helping the country reach the goal. Every state will need to have its own unique policy blueprint for how it can contribute to climate change while also helping residents enjoy the benefits of a transition to clean energy and a low-emissions economy. Educating businesses and citizens on the benefits of renewable sources of energy adoption will be a positive step towards transitioning to clean energy thus reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Combining approaches at the government and institutional level with bottom-up approaches rooted in regional, national, and local knowledge, while encouraging Ministries for planning or financing the initiative, to be fully involved in mainstreaming adaptation is expected.

Also Read: 8 States Highly Vulnerable To Climate Change: Report

(Suresh Kumar Kotla is the Director, Energy & Environment and Divya Banerjee is Research Assistant at Institute for Sustainable Communities.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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 (WaterSanitation 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 pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,06,78,961Cases
20,23,40,977Active
3,34,39,331Recovered
48,98,653Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,06,78,961 and 48,98,653 have died; 20,23,40,977 are active cases and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 4:17 am.

India

3,40,81,315 13,596Cases
1,89,6946,152Active
3,34,39,331 19,582Recovered
4,52,290 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,81,315 confirmed cases including 4,52,290 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,89,694 and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,91,697 1,715

32,230 994

64,19,678 2,680

1,39,789 29

Kerala

48,54,321 7,555

88,186 3,292

47,39,270 10,773

26,865 74

Karnataka

29,83,459 326

9,479 58

29,36,039 380

37,941 4

Tamil Nadu

26,87,092 1,218

14,814 208

26,36,379 1,411

35,899 15

Andhra Pradesh

20,60,472 432

6,034 159

20,40,131 586

14,307 5

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,028 9

119 10

16,87,011 19

22,898

West Bengal

15,80,530 624

7,421 24

15,54,132 634

18,977 14

Delhi

14,39,390 32

320 6

14,13,981 38

25,089

Odisha

10,35,077 443

4,542 68

10,22,250 508

8,285 3

Chhattisgarh

10,05,654 16

183 2

9,91,901 14

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,390 2

42 2

9,45,394 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,290 10

207 6

8,15,997 16

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,684 5

84 12

7,82,077 17

10,523

Haryana

7,71,076 15

123 9

7,60,904 6

10,049

Bihar

7,26,026 5

48 4

7,16,317 1

9,661

Telangana

6,68,955 122

3,924 55

6,61,093 176

3,938 1

Assam

6,06,468 205

3,436 46

5,97,082 245

5,950 6

Punjab

6,02,035 27

227 8

5,85,264 16

16,544 3

Jharkhand

3,48,430 7

122 1

3,43,173 8

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,756 9

178 1

3,36,181 8

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,062 95

843 12

3,25,793 107

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,437 131

1,303 5

2,16,414 125

3,720 1

Goa

1,77,522 60

604 6

1,73,572 62

3,346 4

Puducherry

1,27,396 52

585 13

1,24,961 64

1,850 1

Manipur

1,22,737 104

1,422 0

1,19,418 102

1,897 2

Mizoram

1,12,848 249

11,633 1,143

1,00,829 1,389

386 3

Tripura

84,321 16

104 4

83,401 12

816

Meghalaya

82,953 55

845 32

80,673 86

1,435 1

Chandigarh

65,302 3

25 3

64,457 6

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,987 7

140 30

54,567 37

280

Sikkim

31,749 4

174 8

31,184 12

391

Nagaland

31,611 40

248 12

30,689 28

674

Ladakh

20,878 2

36 10

20,634 12

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676 1

4 1

10,668

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,641

9 0

7,503

129

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