Cop and have gun
December 10, 2009 1 Comment
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be attending the Copenhagen Climate Conference in a week’s time. The conference which started on 8th December would be witnessing interesting parleys between various nations all attempting to find a fine balance between the need for development and the need to preserve the ecology of the only inhabited planet known to us.
Rajdeep Sardesai whom I follow on twitter had an interesting observation : Why are these climate conferences organized in the most exotic of locations ? Kyoto, Bali, Copenhagen etc ?
I couldn’t agree more. Sitting amidst scenic almost surreal settings, serious work must be the last thing on the minds of the delegates.
That apart, the conference has already polarized the world into the developed countries pushing for greater cuts in emissions and developing countries seeking to protect the interests of their domestic industries.
Before getting into the politics and the economics of the climate debate, it is still not clear as to what can be done immediately to prevent Planet Earth getting hotter every year. Surely there must be a list of things that we could do immediately and not merely discuss the “per capita emission norms”.
Surprisingly there are still a group of scientists (?) who believe that the planet has become cooler since 1998. I have no claims to any scientific knowledge but I cannot believe that someone could think so.
Roughly a decade ago when I landed in Bengaluru, it was known as the ‘Air condition city’. Except for April and May, the city used to be pleasant and from Nov to Feb, it is was even frighteningly cold. One of the reasons for Bengaluru’s IT success, apart from the obvious availability of talent, was it’s salubrious climate. Alas, it is no more. Bengaluru has degenerated into another Chennai with the only difference being the lower humidity levels. Global Warming is here and it is real.
The role of the developed countries has come for expected criticism from countries like India. And rightly so.
Till the impact of the pollution in developing countries on the ecology was understood, the developed countries did not bother to transfer ‘clean technologies’ to developing nations. The developing countries were merely “markets” for their powerful business houses to set shop, sell, make truckloads of money and vanish.
The civil nuclear deal between US and India apart from the strategic reasons is also a recognition of the fact that developing countries like India need clean technologies. And they need it more and faster than anybody else.
It is unfair for the developed countries to push countries like India which is just witnessing the first waves of development. 800 million Indians live on less than $1 per day and surely their developmental needs cannot be ignored.
I am not for a moment suggesting that the developing countries should be given a free ride to pollute further. The enormity of the developmental needs of poor countries like India need to be considered before benchmarking is done. Put simply those who damaged the ecology more, i.e the developed countries, should first do more. They should be the ones who should first walk the talk.
India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had said that consumption of beef has a direct impact on the ecology and infact is more harmful. The rearing of beef cows result in massive emission of methane, a greenhouse gas far more dangerous than carbon dioxide.
Will the developed countries give up their steaks ?
It is not enough to treat the issue of Global Warming as the problem of only developing countries. It is an universal problem and it has to be solved by everyone together. Demanding unilateral concessions are not the way to resolve this existential issue.
The problem cannot be solved only by clamping down on fossil fuel consumption or coal-fired power plants, though they are an important part of the action plan. The developing countries who are desperately in need of power plants for their future would do everything for their energy security. Millions of homes in India use the poor quality of coal for their daily living and we cannot change it overnight. Especially if we are not offering any alternatives.
The developed countries should do more and should do it immediately. And they have to show real action rather than playing supercop. For instance, can they put an end to the nuisance of Formula One Racing ? It is in my view a colossal waste of time, precious fuel and causing damage to the environment.
Developing countries like India have already planned their strategy. India is among the biggest polluters in absolute terms has joined with China, South Africa and Brazil to thwart any move by the cartel of the developed countries.
Beijing and New Delhi are atleast able to cooperate on an issue that concerns the fate of development in their respective nations.
Manmohan Singh has a tough task ahead of him. The opposition has accused him of a ‘sell-off’ to the United States while business associations such as FICCI have warned him about the consequences of unilateral concessions.
Manmohan recently called himself an ‘extinguished economist’ and it really remains to be seen as to how he balances sagacity expected of him as the leader of an important nation and protecting the development agenda.
Here are some of the concessions that he can and I hope he will make to the cause of reducing Global Warming.
a) The first and foremost would be banish the role of sexy bimbette in Bollywood movies which would immediately force the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Mallika Sherawat to wear more clothes. And that would mean a direct reduction in temperature levels.
b) Ram Gopal Varma should be banned from making any more movies. And if anyone has dared to keep copies of his movies such as Agayat, Aag etc, they should be confiscated and biologically destroyed. This will directly reduce the fuming of the movie goers bringing down the temperature by a few notches atleast.
c) All reality shows including the obnoxious Pati Patni Who, Big Boss should be cancelled. Phony catfights, shrills and shrieks, we cannot take anymore.
d) The reality shows should be replaced with Saas-Bahu soaps especially the kind that would need sobbing or weeping every 5th minute. The combined effect of the sobbing in my view would cool the planet more than afforestation.
e) T20 matches should be either banned or to be conducted without the skimpily clad dancing girls. The reasoning is pretty much the same as to why bimbettes should be banned.
f) Vijayakanth should be mandated to wear cooling glasses all through the day. The planet can no longer bear his blood-shot eyes.
On a more serious note, the developed countries should come forward to understand the problems of poor countries and lead the efforts to contain global warming. Scientists have indicated that we may have just 10 years to reverse the trend of global warming before it is too late ; Or before it cannot be saved by ‘natural methods’.
One would just hope that the collective wisdom of the world leaders proves sufficient to save this beautiful planet. If they are just content on being bullies, this conference would just be another wasteful exercise of the developed ‘cops’ training their ‘guns’ on the poor countries.