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For People & The Planet

After Birmingham, Egypt hosted the second round of 27th Session of the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change on November 6-20, 2022. Popularly known as COP27, the Summit, held in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh, turned out to be an important global event in recent times, as the Developed World agreed to compensate Developing Nations, affected by Global Warming. From the media to environmentalists, everyone has called the event a historic one. It is because the reckless exploitation of nature by the Developed World for the sake of economic prosperity has triggered various disasters, including the famine in Somalia and the environmental change in different parts of the globe.

This desperate mentality is not limited to the Developed World only. Developing Nations, including India, have followed a similar path in an attempt to boost their respective economy. Hence, the Developing Nations and the Developed Nations have engaged in a conflict over the sharing of responsibilities and duties regarding environmental protection for the past few decades. Debates have also been going on to decide who is responsible for the destruction of the mother Earth, and who will bear the cost of saving Human Civilisation.

During the recent COP27 Summit, the Developing World made it clear that the Developed World would have to pay the price for destroying nature. Representatives of the Developing Nations argued that environment-friendly technology was beyond the reach of their countries, given their relative poverty. Hence, the Developed World should not force these countries to stop using traditional technologies, such as the coal-based power generation. Representatives of other countries reportedly urged India to reduce its consumption of coal during the COP27 Summit. They claimed that the US and India were the two countries which played an important role in heating up the environment in the last one year. It may be noted that India has not clarified its position on carbon emissions for many years. Finally (during the Birmingham Summit) in 2021, India announced that it would try to achieve a net-zero emissions target by 2070.

Net-zero emissions do not mean India cannot emit carbon into the environment at all. Instead, emission shall remain at a stage so that nature can purify itself. And, here lies the importance of trees and forests. If the rate of carbon emissions increases and the number of trees decreases simultaneously, then nature cannot keep carbon emissions at an environmentally-friendly level. As a result, the Earth experiences an increase in its temperature. The increase in temperature triggers storms, floods and droughts.

According to the Climate Transparency Report 2022, Climate Change-induced extreme weather events, such as cyclones, flash floods, floods and landslides, caused damage to crops in over 36 million hectares of land in India between 2016 and 2021. As per the report, it amounts to USD 3.75 billion (5.4% of the GDP) loss for the Indian farmers. It should be kept in mind that cultivable land in India is about 15.5 million hectares in order to understand the amount of environmental damage to the South Asian nation due to warming.

The goal of the Paris Agreement, signed by 196 parties at COP21 Summit in the French capital on December 12, 2015, was to limit Global Warming to well below two degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Donald Trump, the then President of the US, did not sign the agreement, as he withdrew himself from the entire discussion. Joe Biden, the current President, apologised on behalf of his country upon his arrival in Egypt. Meanwhile, the goal of limiting Global Warming to below two degrees Celsius was determined on the basis of average global temperatures from 1850 to 1900.

The question arises here is: Whether we can achieve this goal, or not? To do so, the Global Community would have to protect the greeneries. Brazil has already pushed Amazon rainforests to the brink of destruction due to its stubborn fiscal policies. Nearly 20% of the Amazon forests has been sacrificed in order to boost the Brazilian Economy. Around 1.5 million hectares of mangrove forests in India and Bangladesh have been lost due to the encroachment of human civilisation. Population increase has prompted nature to lose its green, as human settlements have been created by destroying forests. With this, there is a decrease in the number of natural carbon filtering plants.

Many consider the Paris Agreement as Justice. During an international discussion on the environment in 2016, former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay claimed that his country was not only carbon neutral, but carbon negative. In other words, the environment of the tiny landlocked country in South Asia (situated in the Eastern Himalayas, between China in the north and India in the south) was not only cleaning up the carbon emitted by Bhutan, but also by the neighbouring countries. However, Bhutan is paying the price of Global Warming. Famine-stricken Somalia and Niger, too, are in a similar situation. These two African nations do not contribute to Global Warming; however, they have experienced second famine in the last 10 years because of drought. Millions of children are in a perilous condition in Somalia and Niger. Even Europe and the US are facing the ire of nature.

Fortunately, the Global Community has expressed serious concern about Global Warming, and the Egypt Treaty is a reflection of that. That is why the International Community has decided to limit Global Warming to below two degrees Celsius by 2070. However, it would not be easy to measure the extent of damage and to deal with it. The world may face an acute food crisis while tackling Global Warming. Hence, the global political leadership seems to be worried. For now, the Egypt Deal should be considered as a major step forward in the fight against Global Warming, as one of the major obstacles has been the acceptance of responsibility by the Developed World.

In Egypt, the Developed Nations agreed to take necessary steps in order to protect the Human Civilisation.

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