Dubai: The world is pinning hope on India’s leadership and intellectual powerhouse for providing a solution to the climate crisis, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has said. In an interview with PTI at the annual climate conference (COP28) here, Ms Scotland said she waits in “joyful anticipation to see what India will decide to do”, as negotiators at the summit haggle over the best ways to slash greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worsening of already severe climate impacts.
Asked about her expectations from India amid a growing push for a fossil fuel phase out, she said India has to “feed and care for 1.4 billion people”, almost half of the population of the 56-nation club called Commonwealth.
Ms Scotland said,
What I am hoping for is that India will have the courage to own her position and to lead, and she can. The genius that is coming out of India, along with the other Commonwealth countries, could enable us to solve this problem.
“India absolutely represents hope… The Commonwealth is grateful to it for coming up with some of the most amazing solutions,” she said and hoped the country would continue to maintain her position of leadership.
Ms Scotland emphasised that the world needs a “just transition”, which means transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables in a fair and equitable way. She said,
We all accept that this cannot happen with a snap of our fingers. We have got to plan it fairly.
Marvelling at India’s technology revolution, she said the fast-growing South Asian nation has not only taken millions of people out of poverty but has also reached the ‘south side’ of the Moon by spending just a minuscule amount compared to the West. India is “absolutely kicking it out of the park” when it comes to innovation and the world’s fifth-largest economy has probably got more unicorns than other countries put together, she said.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General lauded the Indian ‘jugaad’, a frugal and flexible approach to problem-solving, saying it is inspirational for small countries and island states.
Ms Scotland said developed countries’ made a commitment in 2009 to provide USD 100 billion (annually by 2020) to help developing countries combat climate change, but this has not yet been fully honoured. There is a need for assistance, particularly in relation to losses and damages, for small and developing countries which have suffered the most due to climate change, she said.
The concept of climate justice means that loss and damage must be compensated.
According to the World Meteorological Organisation, the year 2023 is set to be the hottest on record. Earth’s global surface temperature has risen by around 1.15 degrees Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels (1850-1900), and the CO2 spewed into the atmosphere, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution, is closely tied to it.
Climate science says the world needs to slash CO2 emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 to limit the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the guardrail to prevent worsening of climate impacts. The business-as-usual scenario will take the world to a temperature rise of around 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, scientists have warned.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post 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 will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.