January 2018

Editor Dolly Khattar

In early January this year, one of the hottest places on earth, the grainy sand dunes of the Sahara desert, was covered in white snow as thick as 15 inches in some places. Ironically, scientists opine that 2017 was an abnormally hot year. Changing weather patterns, typhoons, cyclones, wildfires and droughts have become noticeably more frequent around the globe in the past few years. As climate change rapidly moves from theory to a disturbing reality, combating the truth has emerged as a mammoth task for the world.

Most countries have strengthened their climate protection policies following the Paris Accord. India began its war against climate change by announcing ambitious renewable energy capacity addition targets and nationally determined contributions pledged during COP21 in Paris. Green investments have been pouring into the country with the solar and wind power
markets growing at a record pace. However, energy demand and dependence on fossil fuels have also been increasing. Estimates show that despite installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, coal will continue to be the country’s dominant power source.

While the emergence of sustainable economies fuelled by wind and solar power is increasing, a dent in the climate change phenomenon is yet to be witnessed. Meanwhile, considerable negative sentiment has been generated in the past year with the US pulling out of the climate accord.

Moreover, experts at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are of the opinion that capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius for the century may not be feasible given the current global industrial and economic growth. In fact, the United Nations Environment Programme has recently said that current practices will lead to a rise of at least 3 degrees
by the year 2100, despite nations achieving their intended contributions.

Therefore, while the increase in renewable energy capacity is a step in the right direction, economic and technological dependence on fossil fuels has to be reduced with immediate effect. Above all, governments across the world have to not just urgently deliver much stronger pledges when they are revised in 2020, but also ensure that these are strictly translated
into reality.

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