The World Economic Forum (WEF) in its Global Risk Report 2023 highlighted that natural disasters and extreme weather events are the second-most severe risk that the world needs to be prepared for in the next two years. It noted that in the long-term risks, failure to mitigate climate change and failure of climate change adaptation are the two most severe risks facing the world, which the countries need to address.
WEF said that over the next 10 years or by 2033, the interconnections between biodiversity loss, pollution, natural resource consumption, climate change, and socioeconomic drivers will make for a dangerous mix.
Talking about climate change and climate disaster, António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), said that the countries are flirting with climate disaster and the commitment to limiting the temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius is going to smoke.
“Without action, the entire globe will head towards 2.8 degrees Celsius and we all know this would have devastating consequences. We need cooperation yet we see fragmentation. Our world is plagued by a number of the front like global economic crises as many parts of the country face recession and others parts face a slowdown," said Guterres.
He added that there is increasing inequality and a rapid rise in the cost of the crisis and added that supply chain disruptions and energy crunch, soaring prices and rising interest rates along with inflation and impacting vulnerable countries.
Guterres added meaningful engagement on climate, trade, and technology between the US and China was essential to prevent confrontation. “We risk what I have called a Great Fracture – the decoupling of the world's two largest economies,” he said at the WEF session.
Former US Vice President Al Gore, who is also at the annual WEF in Davos, called for urgent, drastic action on protecting the environment and combating climate change.
In his speech, Gore spoke about climate change, boiling the oceans, causing freak weather occurrences like rain bombs, which will ultimately affect humanity’s ability for "self-governance".
"People are familiar with that thin blue line that the astronauts bring back in their pictures from space? That’s the part of the atmosphere that has oxygen, the troposphere, and it’s only five to seven kilometers thick. That’s what we’re using as an open sewer. We’re still putting 162 million tons [of greenhouse gas] into it every single day and the accumulated amount is now trapping as much extra heat as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every single day on the earth," he added.
India’s role in climate change initiatives
The WEF said that India has been at the forefront of driving global action on climate change. It noted that under the powerful leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is using digital innovation and indigenous technology to optimise its resources and promote green energy to reduce carbon emissions. The National Hydrogen Mission, which was adopted recently, has been mentioned as a noteworthy step towards climate mitigation.
The WEF has noted that India’s initiative in co-founding the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with France, is a huge step in the solar power sector globally. The mission not only focuses on generating solar energy, it also looks into promoting energy access and transition. Already, the ISA has 110 member countries and is pursuing nine programmes promoting 10GW of off-grid and grid-connected solar projects in developing countries.
“India’s pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2070 was one of the most important announcements at COP26. In line with the prime minister’s statement, the federal government recently approved India’s Updated Nationally Determined Contribution, which translates the COP26 announcements into enhanced climate targets. It marks a major step in achieving India’s long-term goal of reaching net zero by 2070,” said Viraj Mehta, Head, Regional Agenda, India and South Asia; Member of the Executive Committee, WEF.
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