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Time To Repay

When serious debate takes place between development and environment the question arise in my mind that how much money one can count by keeping one's breathe on hold. Likewise, Mahatma Gandhi said that environment have enough for need not for greed. To put environment in broad perspective, we need a background of industrial development. We have four industrial revolutions which are as follows:

Everyone is proud of their presence to witness their respective industrial revolution. Now question arises, is there any environment protection revolution? Or have we calculated the environmental cost of these industrial revolutions. In this very article, we will discuss what industrial development has given us and what is being taken.

In the span of 100 year time i.e. 18th Century to 19th Century, several countries have transformed their economy, people's life and their lifestyle with the help of industrial development. The changing factor i.e. industrial development comes with the requirement of energy for production, transportation and for every step in supply chain. Energy is obtained by burning of fossil fuel. Till now, industries have concerns about demand, supply, cost, profit, customer base, manipulation of people's behavior to use their product, compete with the alternative commodity of their product in the market and so on. But Environment is not on their concerns list. Pollution in terms air, water, soil, noise, radioactive waste, E-waste is not of their area of interest. Extended Producer responsibility is not welcomed by the industries as it costs the same additionally.

Industrial development's contribution and receipts

Industrial development is a motive force for economic growth. Economic growth is definitely a result of industrial development. Along with the economic growth, humanity received the following:

  1. More jobs
  2. Bigger market
  3. Huge demand supply exchange
  4. More disposable and saving income
  5. Better lifestyle
  6. Better health facility like more hospital, wellness centre etc.
  7. Better education opportunity
  8. Better technology
  9. Better forecasting of natural clamity

And many more facilities whose sole reason is economic growth due to industrial development.

For these contribution, industrial development needs investment, raw material, manufacturing units, transportation, market and many more. If we see these needs one by one and analyse how these needs pollutes our environment then this can be a chance for us to calculate the environmental cost of industrial revolutions.

Investment which was earlier going for social welfare, saving biodiversity, increasing forest cover etc. is going for increasing production unit of industries. Private Investment is often profit seeking then how can it be expected that they will invest in making in environment cleaning. Even Public fund for exclusively environmental purposes are in the coffers of government. The most lively example in current scenario is CAMPA fund wherein in recent 3 years almost 48000 crore has been accumulated which is to be used for foresting in the alternate areas for the acquisition of forest area for the purpose of Industrial development.

Raw material is different for different industries. Some example like leather and jute industries are water intensive, furniture industries needs wood, real estate industry needs sand, cement, gypsum, power sector needs fossil fuels, radioactive elements etc. when we analyze the sustainability of extraction of raw material then we can say with the reports of authentic organization that we losing the our on renewable resources which will end in near future. Consumption of non renewable resources will results in the emission of different kind of pollutants and catastrophic events like climate change, sea level rise, drought, flood, ozone depletion etc. This will be irreparable loss and cost will be infinitely high.

Manufacturing unit or production hub is to be set up for industrial development and for that we need huge land. Transfer of land from one purpose to other means the land which was used for agriculture is to be used for industries. If we see it with the environmental perspective, we can say that the land used for cleaning the environment before will be used for the polluting the environment. The same thing come to my mind that how much money one can count by keeping one's breathe on hold. Increasing population and decreasing agricultural land are motive force to pollute the soil with synthetic fertilizer, pesticides. Live example for this, sucide of farmers due to low income, death of farmers due to use of pesticide in Maharastra recently.

Transportation of goods, materials, resources from industries to market is essential part of industrial development and more precisely after wheel stream engine was a reason for first industrial revolution. But in current scenario and from the perspective of environment, such events is seen like vehicular emission, oil spill in sea route harming sea biodiversity and polluting water, pollution in river due to Inland water transport, addition of more water species in red list of IUCN, Air turbine fuels impact on birds and upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Cost is immeasurable of these events because social and environmental cost can not be monetized in all sphere.

Facts with reference of 5th IPCC report:
Science has an important role to play in the knowing the problem and also providing the solution and technology for the same. Intergovernment Panel for Climate Change(IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change which was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. It assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Recently, IPCC has published its 5th report wherein it has shown the severity of climate change due to industrialization and other reason. Some key highlights of IPCC report is as under:
At current rate of emissions, the world is set to breach the global warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052. At present, the world is 1.2C warmer compared to pre-industrial levels.

Climate change could have irreversible and catastrophic impacts if the global average temperatures were allowed to rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius. Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher.

There could be progressive worsening of extreme weather events as temperature rises.

The report gave a more comprehensive assessment of the differences in a 1.5C world and 2C world and quantified the carbon dioxide that would need to be removed from the atmosphere to achieve this.

The international effort to tackle climate change must be accelerated in order to limit global temperature rises.

The report notes that investment in physical and social infrastructure is a key enabler in enhancing resilience and adaptive capacity.

Poorly designed or implemented adaptation projects can increase greenhouse gas emissions and water use, increase gender and social inequality, undermine health conditions, and encroach on natural ecosystems.

Hence, adaptation efforts must pay attention to poverty and sustainable development and these efforts need financial support.

Adaptation needs have generally been supported by public sector sources, multilateral development banks, NGOs, private funding and UNFCCC channels.

According to the report, there is a need to integrate Disaster risk management (DRM) and adaptation to reduce vulnerability. The report also identifies educational adaptation options which motivate adaptation through building awareness.

A more participatory approach towards adaptation, especially for vulnerable population will be to formulate adaptation action based on indigenous knowledge. These people are threatened by cultural modification, dispossession of land rights and land grabbing, rapid environmental and social changes. Therefore recognition of indigenous rights, governance systems and laws is central to adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development.

Involvement of local governments is important too since they enable more participative decision-making and involve wider community in designing and implementing adaptation policies.

After above findings, IPCC has recommended some suggestion for obtaining the target of 1.5 degree celcius which are following:

  • To limit ourselves to 1.5C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions should reduce by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, and should reach net-zero around 2050. Along with it, we also need serious cuts to non-CO2 emissions.
  • Both methane and black carbon need to be reduced by 35 per cent or more of 2010 levels by 2050.
  • Achieving these cuts requires rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems.It will also require political action and significant scale-up of investment.
  • Average annual investment in low-carbon energy technologies and energy efficiency needs to scale up.
  • Use of coal should reduce steeply and its share in electricity mix should be reduced to close to 0 per cent by 2050. There is a need for a significant fall in the share of oil in energy production by 2050.
  • The industry sector will have to reduce emissions by around 7590 per cent of 2010 levels by 2050.
  • Real emission reductions can be achieved through a combination of new and existing technologies, including sustainable bio-based feedstocks, product substitution, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
  • In the land-use sector, some amount of pasture and non-pasture agricultural land for food and feed crops needs to be converted for energy crops.
  • Taking the things in practical way, we can say that achieving the target purely by reducing emission is extremely improbable; investment will have to move towards active removal through afforestation, carbon capture and storage, and other novel technologies. Along with these, we have take all pathways, which limit global warming to 1.5C or allow a minimal breach, project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to the tune of 1001000 GtCO2eq over this century.

Time to Repay the Nature
In the above discussion, we have seen clearly that on the produces of nature we brought industrial revolution with which we have made our life easy, fast, comfortable but not clean as nature's capacity to clean itself is exhausted by us. I would like to authenticate this fact with the report of World Wildlife Fund for Nature which reported that Earth Overshoot day was on 29th July for the year 2019. It means we are very close to make earth capacity half to sustain itself. So it is time to repay the nature but how?

For this How, we need to learn from our contemporaries like Greta Thunberg, a 16 year Swedish school going kid, who is trying to awake the international community for their future. She has taken the initiative #FridayforFuture for the environmental awakening. Like this along with individual, companies has also shown its interest in environment for eg. Disney's fight against plastic use, Servcorp's The green office project, The port city of Hamburg, Germany's The Eco-City Project, The Ocean Cleanup project and many more.

World's policy makers are also meeting to get the earth in its original shape and sustainable form like recently Paris climate summit, 2015 to Bonn convention, 2018 wherein all come together to make policies for obtaining conducive environment for human race to survive. Some of initiative taken from 1990s when world communities were discussing about the climate change and began negotiating an international arrangement for tackling it together.

The objective has been to limit rising global average temperatures to within 2C from pre-industrial times. Like in Kyoto Protocol where scheme like joint implementation, Emission trading, Clean development mechanism were introduced to bring the balance and regulation between industries and economic growth, Montreal protocol for minimizing the ozone depleting substances like CFCs and Stockholm conference on environment protection.

Everyone of us have taken a lot from the nature in the name of various field like industrial development so now responsibility can not be put on one. So we all have come together to make earth self-sustaining again.

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