The Consequences of Inaction
Youths around the globe are visibly angry with world leaders for their “all hat and no cattle” attitude towards Climate Change; and for preaching about the need to act but yet not taking concrete action. They are aware that their leaders are not doing enough to secure their future and the generations to come. The growing frustration was demonstrated a few days ago when millions of young people cutting across borders — from Europe to Pacific islands to India to US — took to the streets demanding urgent action on Climate Change. They marched carrying placards and shouting slogans when they should have been at school. Before the dust of the mass protest settled, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg took on world leaders and superpowers at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Monday for their inaction against the impending human-inflicted destruction. The visibly emotional teenager said: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” She went on to say that the leaders had failed the young people and warned that they wouldn’t be forgiven if they fail to think of their future.
It is yet to be seen if the world will achieve its target but the cry of young people around the globe seems to have been heard as dozens of nations, regions, cities, businesses and investors have pledged to work towards achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emission by 2050. President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera announced that 59 countries have signalled intention to enhance their climate action plan by 2020, while 11 nations have started internal process in their national plans to boost ambition. But amid this positive development and bold move by many stakeholders, the relative silence of some climate change leaders could send the wrong message to many and it was unexpected. While the European Union did not join the league of 59 countries, top carbon dioxide emitters like the US, China and India neither talked about enhancing their climate action targets nor towards achieving net-zero emission at the summit. India had expressed its commitment to its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement but as an emerging superpower, a move to go beyond that could make a big difference.
Irrespective of variation in the amount of effort put in by different nations to tackle Climate Change, it is clear that inaction will cost human race dearly and lead to extinction of other living organisms too. We have already started feeling the impact of climate change with shifts in weather patterns affecting food production; increase in global temperature leading to rise in sea level; and extreme weather causing unprecedented natural calamities. If this, the biggest challenge of the century is left unchecked, humankind will reap what it has sown. Everyone will face the consequence because nature doesn’t treat anyone differently.