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
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:
- More jobs
- Bigger market
- Huge demand supply exchange
- More disposable and saving income
- Better lifestyle
- Better health facility like more hospital, wellness centre etc.
- Better education opportunity
- Better technology
- Better forecasting of natural clamity
And many more facilities whose sole reason is economic growth due to industrial
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
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
1.2°C 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
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 1.5°C, 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 75–90 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 1.5°C or allow a minimal breach, project the use of
carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to the tune of 100–1000 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 2°C
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.