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The Urgent Need For Political Action On Climate Change In South Asia

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The universal consensus on climate change is the need of the hour. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed that climate change is real in its Fourth Assessment Report. Climate change denialism will make the planet more vulnerable to anthropogenic activities. It will further polarise the world on a burning issue that needs international attention. The benefits from adaptation and mitigation methods are far more than not taking action on climate change. 

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South Asia has a unique geographical location blessed with various rivers and a diverse ecosystem. The region’s diverse flora and fauna make it one of the richest regions abundant with natural resources. However, the tentacles of climate change have made the region susceptible to threats. The effects of climate change would be more adverse in this region because the majority of the population is dependent on the agrarian sector. Moreover, colonisation and internal conflicts in South Asian countries have crippled the economy and pushed large sections of the population into poverty. The bulging population in developing countries makes the threat to natural resources more serious. 

Most of the countries opened up their economy through liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation but it only widened the gap between the rich and the poor. One of the most adverse effects of globalisation on South Asia was that it infused a consumerist and aspirational attitude in young minds at the expanse of the environment. Globalisation has often pushed development by putting the environment on stake. The worst thing about crony capitalism is that it is only motivated by profits. The core countries have often encouraged the South Asian countries to adopt policies at the cost of the environment. For example, the state government of Himachal Pradesh declared Badi as a tax free region. As a result of this, many international and national industries were set up. When the government realised that the benefit from industries was meagre compared to the harm they were causing to the environment. The industries, therefore, thought of shifting their production houses somewhere else. (Skylab, 2009) The hypocrisy of globalisation and capitalism will result in destruction of the environment which will lead to a gloomy future for our future generations. This article will try to analyse the importance to address the problem of climate change in South Asia and how a green economy can benefit the population in the long run.

The Climate Change Threats And Consequences That South Asian Countries Are Facing 

Flash floods: Flash floods in South Asia is a result of climate change. It increases the water to an alarming level. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) describes flash floods as, “A flood that rises and falls quite rapidly with little or no advance warning, usually the result of intense rainfall over a relatively small area.” It has led to loss of property and lives in South Asia. Hyderabad recently experienced flash floods. The city recorded 191 mm of rain within the span of a few hours. It has been the heaviest ever recorded in 97 years. Almost 70 people lost their lives. (Indian Express, 2020) 

Melting of Himalayas: Himalayan glaciers are melting at a very fast rate posing grave danger to South Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Scientists have revealed that the melting of glaciers has doubled with the beginning of the century. The most prominent reason for melting of the Himalayan glaciers at such a fast rate is anthropogenic activities of the human race. This will lead to severe floods in the South Asian countries. The glacier lake outburst flood (GLOF) can lead to mass destruction. According to a 2011 study, 42 lakes in Nepal were at high risk of flood. (National Geographic, 2019) 

Rise in water level: Low-lying areas are at risk due to the rise of water level in South Asian countries. A large chunk of land from countries like Maldives and Bangladesh will get submerged due to climate change. Most of the areas of Bangladesh are already sinking. Moreover, the saline water makes the land poisonous due to which crops die. The coral reefs of maldives are getting threatened due to rising sea level. They are one of the major sources of the growth of nature based tourism in Maldives which has contributed 70% of the country’s GDP. (The World Bank, 2010) 

Rise in temperature: Many of the regions of South Asia have experienced extreme high temperature over the years. Western Afghanistan and Southwestern Pakistan have experienced extreme hot climates. In many of the regions the monsoon precipitation rate has decreased. Central and Western India has experienced extreme dry periods and wet periods.However, the temperature will increase least in the coastal areas of South Asia because oceans help to moderate the temperature.(Bandyopadhyay et al., 2018) When temperature rises, photosynthesis and respiration become unbalanced. Pollination of a plant is most susceptible due to rise in temperature. 

Political Action On Climate Change In South Asia 

Climate change will further cripple the South Asian countries if immediate action is not taken together. The domestic policies of the governments are not enough to reduce the implications of climate change. One region might be more responsible for the increase in anthropogenic activities but the impact will be felt by all the regions of South Asia. Similarly, it will not be enough for only one country to take action to mitigate climate change in South Asia. The immediate collective and political action is required to address the implications of climate change. Both mitigation and adaptation is required to minimise the threat of climate change. The mistrust and regional conflict between India and Pakistan and other countries needs to be set aside for cooperation and immediate action for regional interest. SAARC needs to revamp and fulfill its long standing commitments on various agreements and collective policies like SAARC Food Security Reserve for natural calamities, SAARC Seed Bank, SAARC Disaster Management Centre, etc. 

However, we cannot deny the efforts and initiative of our leaders to create awareness and take up various mitigation and adaptation projects to tackle climate change. India along with Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, shares hydrological and meteorological data to prepare for flash floods forecast. Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia (CARE) project has been launched by the World Bank to develop climate resilient technology and policies in South Asia. The World Bank worked with the Government of the Maldives on the Maldives Environment Management Project, $13.5 million IDA credit, to effectively manage environmental risks fragile to the coral reefs and other marine habitats. (World Bank, 2010) Most important of all, the cities of South Asia like Mumbai, Dhaka, Delhi, etc are the hotspots of climate change. The immediate adaptation methods need to be taken to minimise the implications of extreme weather in the cities of South Asia. The countries of the region need to discuss various projects and most important of all they need to discuss funds for adaptation projects. 

Economic Benefits Of Environment Friendly Policies

Most of the population of South Asia is dependent on the agrarian sector. There is a direct relationship between living standard and climate change. This can be understood with the two models i.e. structural models and reduced form models. Structural model analyses the input and output i.e. climate change and consumption expenditure. However, the drawback of structural models is that it doesn’t take into consideration the psychological factor. On the other hand, the reduced form model has greater predictive capability. (Bandyopadhyay et al., 2018) 

In an agrarian based economy, crop failure due to extreme high or fluctuating temperature can lead to reduction in consumption level. On the other hand, wet conditions due to flash floods and extreme climate changes can lead to various diseases. As a result, expenditure on healthcare increases. The people from poorer regions often migrate to urban and developed areas for better opportunities and lack of resources and money to shift to adaptation methods. The condition of the migrated families due to climate change is tragic and they are often susceptible to violence and abuse. They are often not accepted in the regions they migrate. Professor Myers’ estimated 200 million climate migrants by 2050. 

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change suggests that action on climate change requires 1% of Global GDP. The economic benefits of action on climate change is immense. The Review also suggests that economic damage from not working on climate change is 5% of Global GDP. If wider risks are considered then the economic loss can be estimated upto 20%. ( Stern Review, 2006) According to Simon Dietz and Nicholas Stern (2013), “Thus, what theReview recommends constitutes nothing less than a strong and sustained reduction in the volume of GHGs emitted by global economic activity. Yet, an examination of the ways in which this can be achieved shows that it is both technically and economically feasible and at a cost which, while significant, is small in comparison with the range of benefits of doing so, at least up to the 450–550 ppm CO2e range (i.e., this conclusion is unlikely to apply to even lower stabilization targets, essentially because we have already passed them.” 

Conclusion

It’s high time for South Asia to realise that climate change is real and it will cause destruction to the entire region if serious political action is not taken into account. The countries need to come together putting aside their differences to formulate policies that will benefit the environment, economy and population of South Asia. Moreover, working for a common cause might also help in improving the diplomatic relations between the countries of South Asia. A green economy will have a positive impact on the health of the people and it will also mean a sustainable future. It’s time to realise that our resources are finite to fulfill our infinite desires. 

Shruti Shila Saikia is pursuing Political Science from the University of Delhi. As a second-year student, she is still exploring the sub-disciplines of Political Science. Political philosophy and International Relation fascinate her and she likes writing about it. She has a penchant for observing and analysing things that happen around her. She has been an active member of The Inquisitive Circle, a student led academic circle.

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Let’s play the squid game: but we play for our planet this time

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image source: netflix

Squid game is a current Netflix’s trend series and no one can escape from its influence. The world has Squid game fever now and there are a lot of people who want to partake and experience being in these games. People are lining up to try the popular games in the show and the Squid game’s challenges are piling up in social media and YouTube. This show is climbing up to the first place and achieving global popularity.

In the Squid game, the people who have debts are trying hard in playing the children’s games to win the billion-prize money but the punishment is death. The struggle and the poverty are focused in this series. Besides, it highlights the greed of the people and how it can awaken the devil’s side of human beings. The friendships, sympathy and care can be destroyed easily because of the greed for surviving and money. Apparently, this show is giving a special taste to the audience by the direct approach about our society and socioeconomic conditions. Therefore, it is no wonder that this gains a lot of popularity and becomes Netflix’s most-watched series in history.

Since Squid game wave is striking hard, people are addicted to the show and their willingness to try out the games of this show are unstoppable. So, this time can these passionate audiences participate in the Squid game competition for the sake of our planet? Nowadays, the state of our planet is serious and encountering a plethora of threats; pollution of air and water, ozone layer depletion, climate change, rising sea levels, land degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and so on. 

Due to these environmental concerns, a lot of groups are rising up to spread awareness within the public. These socially conscious groups around the world try hard to inform how the single action of the people can impact the earth. Not only to protect the environment but also to reduce the existing environmental issues, the people from different backgrounds, societies and places have to work together. Although plenty of people are now concerned for their home planet and searching for the answer to solve these issues, educating the public to increase more awareness and attention still needs more room to develop.

To promote environmental awareness and actions to help our planet, the growth of the Squid game can play a perfect role. The unbeatable amount of Squid games addicted fans who are also concerned for the state of the planet can be used in encouraging the public more for the current issues of the earth. Let them play these trend games that they are dying to play and at the same time, the promotion for the actions to preserve the earth will be done.

Creating the competition which inspire Squid game series for our home planet

Type of games and the Rules

Just like in the Squid game series, in this competition, there will be traditional children’s games which were popular in the past. But this time, the games will be collected from various countries. Therefore, the contestants can experience various cultures, explore new things and as a consequence, they will feel connected to each other. Besides these traditional games, there will be games that can help to reduce the carbon footprints such as planting the trees as much as they can in the given time, creating innovative staffs by recycling or reusing the materials and so on. The prime rule for this competition is that the player cannot quit till the game ends and they will have to agree to take the punishment no matter what. And manipulation to each other is not allowed and all the players will be equally treated while in the games.

Host and sponsors

The international organizations such as WWF, IUCN, UNESCO, UN, ASEAN, ADB, etc can be the host in this game. Since these organizations are helping to identify the environmental problems and supporting the protection, they can be the best candidate to be a host in the competition. Along with them, the big corporations who are embracing sustainability can be the sponsors, in other words, they will take the role of VIPs just like in the Squid game series. As the businesses can make greater profits and create better images by considering the economy, social and environment in operating their businesses. Being the sponsors in this game will help them in implementing the better CSR programs and pursuing sustainability. This is one of the best ways to acquire the public’s attention, also loyal customers and as a result, their brand image and competitive advantage will also be improved.

Players

Who will get the invitation for this game?

A group of socially conscious, young generations and also the people who want to experience the games can be the players in this competition. Most of the youths are worried about the future of the planet and they are concerned about the impacts of the environmental issues. They want to change their lifestyles to be more environmentally friendly compared to the older generations. Due to this competition, the adults can have a chance to remember their nostalgic childhood times and the young can experience these old games while they can make effective things for the planet.

Prize

The prize is one of the incentives to stimulate the people to play in this game. The bitter truth is one of the powerful incentives is money. A group of winners will get the money to invest in the environmental projects. Frankly, to protect our environment and planet, billion dollars is one of the requirements.

Punishment

As the players are competing for the sake of the earth, the punishment will definitely not be death. But instead, the players who will get eliminated from the games will have to spend their times at the special place for several days. That special place is located in one of the biggest landfill sites. Losers of this competition have to work in that place and they will have to help in the disposal services.

To conclude, if this competition actually happens in the future, it will bring certain benefits for the environment, society and businesses. So, why do not we inspire this current most-watched series “Squid game” to spread awareness and encourage the people to save the planet, Earth. Let’s give a chance for the people to play in their favorite childhood’s games, be green and save our home.

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Climate change and global challenges

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The whole world has been severely affected by climate change and the Covid-19 epidemic. The natural character of the whole world has also changed due to the rise in global temperature. Given the current situation, all the people of the world are in a state of panic about the horrors of the coronavirus. The world has been devastated by hundreds of disasters since the 1960s. More than 50 million people have become destitute. Many people have died. And most of the disasters are accompanied by constant climate change.

In 2020, 4 crore people became homeless due to deteriorating weather and climate change. At the same time, the adverse effects of the weather are becoming more extreme due to climate change from this year. This year it will break the record and stand at 5 crore. Many people have to leave their country. This number is double the current refugee population in the world. Not just any particular country or people, people all over the world are facing the harmful effects of climate change. Especially in the last 20 years, this effect has spread from Asia, Europe, Africa to the Americas.

Increasing use of fossil fuels is warming the weather, forcing more people to flee their homes due to unexpected floods or storms. Besides, factors like crop damage and drought are also making this trend more evident. Politicians in rich countries are fearful of increasing pressure on their country’s infrastructure due to the influx of environmental refugees from other countries.

Carbon emissions play the biggest role in climate change. Low-income countries are also deprived of 100 billion a year in promised compensation for carbon emissions. Asia has the highest number of people displaced due to environmental reasons. In countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, millions of people live in low-lying coastal areas or in delta-adjacent areas. More and more people are at risk of flooding due to population growth and urbanization, and the rapid rise in sea level is being added to this.

People have already witnessed extreme weather, drought or heavy rains, cyclones.  That is to say, the destructive form of climate and nature is gradually becoming manifest. Mankind is being blamed for this hostile behavior of nature. People are taking care of nature in many ways. Rivers are being occupied and the mountains are being cut indiscriminately. Houses are being built on agricultural land. In this way, oppression on nature is going on in various ways, due to which nature is becoming hostile. We are ruining all our own achievements. As a result, there has been severe inflammation.

The world’s population is constantly growing. There is no end to the discussion and criticism about population growth. It is time to take stock of what new steps can be taken or how human suffering can be reduced. With the increase in population, new problems have been added. It may seem unbelievable but it is true that every day around 25,000 people in the world die due to eating habits and malnutrition. In addition, the world is facing many adverse reactions including shortage of potable water, air toxicity, depletion of resources, housing problems and the destruction of the Ozone layer.

At the root of this is population growth. The temperature in the capital Dhaka has risen due to rapid population growth. A study has identified 25 high-risk areas in Dhaka as a result of rising temperatures. These areas have been named ‘Hit Island’. The performance of the people of this area is decreasing day by day with the increase of various diseases.

Assistance is needed to increase the capacity of CVF countries to deal with the dual threat of epidemics and disasters, especially those affected by the increased frequency of climate-related disasters. Climate-risk countries contribute the least to global greenhouse gas emissions, but they suffer the most. 2021 is a very important year for climate issues as the United States returns to the Paris Agreement. The COP-26 conference on climate change in Scotland next November is expected to yield some good results on climate change. The main goal of COP-26 is to address the impact of climate change and to educate the world about its harmful effects. Bangladesh has also participated in this climate change prevention project.

In ancient times there was a close relationship between man and nature. Ever since man came in contact with civilization, he has learned to strike at nature. Over time, man began to wreak havoc on nature. The problem of environmental pollution is increasing day by day. The trees were not spared from the victims of cruelty. As a result, fear is constantly concentrated in our habitable world. We look for different ways to get rid of it. But if we let nature be like that, we would not have to suffer this consequence in our lifetime.

Blinded by the fascination of speed, people have cut down the forest and set up houses, sometimes they have driven away the animals there. In recent times, mountains are being cut down and forests are being cleared somewhere. Deforestation is endangering the lives of many people. Even though the seasons are changing, these incidents add to our anxiety. But trees can be very resistant to prevent global warming. If the environment does not survive, the problems of the world will intensify. Animals, human beings will face loss of everything. The main reason is the indifference of the people.

 A closer look reveals that this apathy has a significant effect on the depraved market economy. Rivers, hills, soils, forests are all instruments of income growth in the eyes of that market. In order to earn income from these sources, natural resources are being destroyed, centuries-old trees are losing their lives or the source of the boundless beauty of nature is being endangered. In the past, there was a connection between man and nature, which is why in many places forests have survived because those who grew up in contact with plants can realize the contact with nature by finding ways to do the necessary work without harming the plants.

Climate change is responsible for recent disasters. We have to fight hard to save the world from increasing global warming. World leaders must take strong action, including global initiatives, to leave a sustainable future for the next generation. The international community has a special responsibility to assist countries at risk of climate change in their adaptation and mitigation efforts.

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It’s not fair to single out the five countries in the Greta Thunberg UN children-climate case

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Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. UN Photo/Cia Pak

The Greta Thunberg UN case decision just came out today. You might remember that back in 2019, Greta and other children brought a headline case before the UN to prove that climate change affects children’s rights, and it’s a hard issue of law and rights — something that has been long resisted in the area of human rights law when it comes to the environment. The environment has always been one of those peripheral issues for human rights law and that’s why today’s decision is groundbreaking. In a historic ruling that came out today, the UN Child Rights Committee has found that a State party can be held responsible for the negative impact of its carbon emissions on the rights of children both within and outside its territory.

The countries that are bearing the international public slap in the face in this case, however, (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey) are not the biggest emitters and polluters. They were selected as a target of the case not for the worst climate impacts, but simply because they have ratified the additional Protocol of the UN Child Rights Convention, so a case against them can be brought; the biggest emitters haven’t. So it’s a bit like a “catch whoever you can”, and that should be born in mind in the discussion.

The countries in the UN Greta case are the classical international law countries (Europe and Latin America) who have agreed that their human rights practices can be reviewed and challenged. The biggest carbon emitters, on the other hand, haven’t agreed to accept cases.The US hasn’t even ratified the Child Rights Convention, as the only country in the world, let alone the Additional Protocol for direct cases.

The case is very important as a test case and one which develops the nexus between human rights law and climate. It develops the principles of the reasoning and the legal parameters — that’s the take-away. We should remember that the five singled out countries are not the bad guys when it comes to climate change.

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