In the Wake of Nature’s Fury
India has recorded the hottest March in over 120 years, which according to experts is a direct fall out of global warming. The heatwave continued unabated during which most parts of northern India saw mercury rising as high as 46 degrees and beyond, impacting millions of lives as well as livelihoods. It has exhibited what the future holds if corrective measures are not taken at once to prevent climate change. Many may argue that individual efforts are not enough to save the planet, but the fact remains that India should try to implement measures promised during COP 26 Summit at Glasgow in November last year. It was then that India resolved to increase non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts and to meet 50 per cent of the country’s energy demand from such renewable energy sources by 2030, among various other assurances. As a matter of fact, India is an ideal place for producing solar energy as a major part of the country receives adequate sunshine for a large part of the year. Thus, along with other sources of renewable energy, India can easily reduce its dependence on fossil fuel and coal, two major sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite being warned of the impending danger, we have not made much effort to shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy. A few years ago, it was made mandatory for public transportation in Delhi to use compressed natural gas (CNG) instead of petrol or diesel. In the beginning, the move faced a lot of resistance before protestors fell in line as the government was in no mood to backtrack. After the Delhi experience, it was expected that other states too, especially metro cities with high emission rates would follow the capital’s footsteps in making the air clean. However, in their own wisdom, other states did not follow the act and public transportation is still running on fossil fuels, making it difficult for citizens to breathe in fresh air. Moreover, there is a plan to shift to electric vehicles instead of fossil fuel driven cars by 2025. There is already a question mark on meeting the dateline as building of necessary infrastructure is yet to start in most parts of the country.
The recent heatwave has shown us a glimpse of what could happen if global warming continues in this manner. As temperatures soared, we witnessed a power crisis as the demand for electricity reached its peak and power plants were unable to offer respite as the plants did not have enough coal stocks to produce required power. The hydel plants also failed to help as water level in most rivers went below the desired level. Along with the daily chores of life, the agriculture sector too suffered hugely as wheat production alarmingly declined due to inclement weather, which is a major blow to the country’s economy. So without wasting any time, we should start working earnestly to save the nation from the wrath of nature.