The city of Copenhagen intends to become the first carbon neutral capital city in the world by 2025 and is already on its way to reduce carbon emissions by 2015 to 20 per cent. The Danish government is already on its way to oxygenate the city by installing green rooftops making the green, the new black of the town. Carbon dioxide (CO2) being the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities is one of the thorniest challenges facing the world today.
The world’s biggest cities turn to sunshine, wind, water and waste to bolster energy grids to accommodate population growth and thrive without further accelerating the release of CO2. Amid the hum of machinery and warm odor of putrefying autumn leaves, the French city’s urban waste research development had quoted how three giant fermenters can convert household food waste, trimmings from parks and gardens and the slops from school and hospital canteens into enough methane gas so as to power about a third of the buses in the French city.
San Francisco, US, is the first city to make it a crime to not compost food and waste in city bins, in a bid to cut landfill use to zero. All new and renovated buildings are required to install solar panels to supply at least 60 per cent of the energy needed to heat water in Barcelona, Spain. More Londoners are riding buses and bicycles and congestion fee is being levied at high-traffic areas that have reduced traffic jams and carbon dioxide emissions. Distilling energy from the excrement of citizens, waste from restaurants and the mountains of unsold sandwiches left in supermarket refrigerators is one green way of Lille, France.
In all, it will require these pocket-sized different approaches to whittle down society’s impact on the planet.
Now how can India spread her green wings with the World?
One, we must ensure that any political outcome fully endorses the principles and provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in particular the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”. Stripped of its jargonistic flourishes, what this principle boils down to is the principle of equitable burden sharing.
Now those who are most responsible for climate change should bear the larger burden. Those who have greater economic capabilities should make a larger contribution. It is extremely important that this principle be reaffirmed.
Two, what happens on adaptation and technology will depend upon the availability of financial resources from developed countries. With the growing inflation of Dollars, if George Washington makes one facial expression, Gandhiji has to pull 70 expressions at once. The main beneficiaries of public funds are likely to be least to developed economies and small island developing states, rather than a feasible large economy like India. While these may muster as a stop-gap arrangement, the danger is much a diluted outcome for subsequent negotiations.
Three, an important feature of the UNFCCC is that there is a clear distinction drawn between developed countries on the one hand and developing countries on the other. This is not merely rhetorical. It has operational significance. It is on this basis that the germinated lands have offered to reduce the emission intensity by 20-25 per cent up to 2020 and not agree to legally binding emission reductions. The latter would amount to cap on the development.
However, some developed countries have been pressing for a single legal format in which obligations of both developed and developing countries should be reflected, much like the country schedules under the World Trade Organization. This will imply the setting aside of the Kyoto Protocol and its clear distinction between developed and developing countries. This will need to be resisted since climate change remains based on reciprocity and this will weaken the equitable burden sharing principle.
It is the climate change negotiators who have become less about fashioning a truly collaborative global response to a planetary challenge and more about safeguarding and promoting competitive economic interests.
Technology transfer to enable climate change action in developing countries is being resisted for fear of improving the competitive edge of emerging country rivals. Tendencies for emanation can be reduced either by slowing down economic activity or by various technological steps for replacing fossil fuels by renewable sources, cutting waste of energy, recycling, and thereby increasing forest cover. Just one nation cannot make the mark as “One green foot print on the planet won’t make the whole Globe Green but definitely can be a blueprint for the world”. Now that’s a big if or can for greener pastures!
P.S. In a mission, with the help of very own Global Positioning System (GPS), archiving the third planet from the sun with the atomic number 8
Miss Sujatha Jagannathan is Mumbai based 23 years old student of English Literature. She can be reached at scorpionme09(at)gmail(dot)com.
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