Climate Change is now voter’s hunt for political parties agenda beyond their mediocre pre-poll rants.

Climate Change costs India $10 billion annually: Govt Submission in 2017

Due to Climate Change and migration, the farmers Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district have abandoned the farming of 30 traditional crops in one last decade: Study by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun revealed in 2018.

In 2018, Indian state Kerala witnessed the worst floods of the century due to a local ecological disturbance at beaches and suffered a loss of Rs 31,000 crore as reported.

After the years’ drastic fall in the population of migrating birds used to fly in habitats at the wetlands of Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, now the hope has returned this January by a rise in population observed that was affected by climate change and after the measures were taken to reverse it.

Above are among the few headlines or stories, those remind us of India needs proper planning and projects to tackle climate change as it relates to the country’s economy and development. The climate change now has become a core issue, for that, Indian voters should not spare the political parties to share their agenda and commitment before General Election 2019. BJP, Congress enabling farmers’ loan to waive-off or direct cash transfer to the farmers used as poll-plank over the failure in the goal of doubling the farmer’s income. ‘Climate change and temperature rise may reduce the farm incomes by 20–25% in the medium term’ – Previous economic survey 2017–18 finds as the primary threat to raise the farm income.

Agriculture reforms at stake due to climate change

India’s agriculture sector is the most significant proof where the remotest and most impoverished people are directly affected by climate change and temperature rise. In result of productivity crash, the farmers’ suicide has been the noisy, table-thumping discussion in the parliament and a quite set debate in media which will ultimately keep no peace environment continue for political parties, and not to be ended soon. A research report on farmers’ suicide in Vidarbha, Maharashtra by Professor Prakash Behere states that the underlying problem of India with climate change is soaring the low crop yields and drought levels which is ultimately leading to farmer suicides.

An estimate figures out in the study by Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, more than 59,000 suicides in India over the last 30 years due to climate change. Researcher Tamma Carleton found out that climate shocks accelerated farmer suicides. In her report, she stated that regions with 20 degree Celsius would see an average of 70 suicides if the temperature increased even by one degree. “Temperature was more powerful at explaining crop yields and suicide rates,” was the statement given by Carleton. The climate change as the principal culprit in pushing back the agriculture reforms is one of the things the voter should look for political parties wrestling in the next general election 2019 have some better action plan chalked out to address the root cause.

Suffocated urban life in Indian cities

In 2017, British Medical Journal The Lancet Planetary Health reported that around 12.4 lakh deaths in India are attributable due to air pollution. The journal explicitly mentioned air pollution a leading risk factor for the deaths in Indian urban cities if having pollution level less than minimal level damaging health, the life expectancy would have been higher by 1.7 years. New Delhi’s air toxicity level soared with pollutants 75 times more the level considered by the World Health Organisation. The city is always covered with thick smog during chilly mornings. The highest contributor to city pollution is the automobile industry.

The rise of purchase and use in private vehicles also directly affects the traffic blocks in many cities. Though in response to the increasing vehicular pollution, Delhi adopting Odd-Even scheme to reduce numbers vehicles on the road, the rise of air purifier equipment start-ups renders a hope but the children going to school wearing masks and air purifying filters is such a heartbreaking scene to watch. Indian cities are yet to have a solution to tackle the pollution rise. In poll-bound promises, the political parties rant almost for everything from free wi-fi to better roads in monsoon but never seen a political party utter to improve city environment in its election manifesto. A smart voter must hunt for this.

The ditch over sustainable development

Mining resources like coal, iron ore and bauxite require the removal of thick forests. Many families have lost lands and human-made forests handed over from generations to these mining corporations. In a run to achieve economy and energy, India might be pulling a little hard to battle to become one among the world leaders. Rampant mining caused the disturbance in coastal, and interior ecology has resulted in severe floods in recent times. Indeed, India and the world should keep energy and climate as a priority today. Although Narendra Modi government’s National Electricity Plan, 2016 aims that 56.5% of India’s installed power capacity will be from renewables sources within the next nine years up to 2027. As of now, the coal and other fossil fuels fulfill about 70% of India’s power demand.

Even after decisions adopted by the government to tackle climate change, which is appreciable, We are still fighting terrible effects of climate change today! Right from thick smog to unstable weather patterns, the metropolitan cities see a high and low of temperature and humidity. In Delhi and many parts of India, schools and offices were shut down for days due to thick smog. 2017 saw great initiatives and campaigns like Save Aarey against development projects which could hamper the already diminishing green cover! Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) sanctioned to mow down 28 hectares of forest cover (2,298 trees) in Aarey Milk Colony, one of the most natural and valuable forest cover to the city. It was to be cleared for constructing a Metro Car Shed. The project would have benefitted only a few vested hands in the town. It was not a cry against development; it was a fight against reckless development.

Further, a lot more is to act towards achieving sustainable development, but BJP and Congress have nothing concrete as an explicit mention on the subject in their poll agenda.

India to beware of becoming a soft target of the west

So far, India on the world forums to tackle the climate change maintains its stand in the demand of ‘balanced’ share of responsibility among developed and developing countries as whatever consequences the world is facing today is due to two centuries of Industrial activity and high consumption lifestyle in the developed countries. India’s emphasis is on the developed countries to bear this historical burden while we will actively participate in international accords. Dr. Manmohan Singh led UPA government upheld this stand too. Afterward, Narendra Modi took this further with more aggression and participation with a bid that India’s attachment to the ancient cultural roots of living along with the environment and nature.

UN honored PM Narendra Modi as the champion of the Earth Award for 2018, for acknowledging India’s effort to save the environment and recent praise of PM Narendra Modi by the UN Chief Antonio Guterres for increasing India’s contribution to the Paris Agreement for mitigating carbon levels and greenhouse emissions and earlier, he has chipped the term ‘strongly committed’ to both China and India as large economies who have put forth initiatives and vigorous efforts to environmental change. Despite all of these, India is among the largest emitters of greenhouses gases with a share of 7% after China, US, and European Union.

This figure of 7% share allows the developed countries especially the US an escape route not to bear the responsibility and blame India for inaction. In 2018, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Change Accord after accusing India and China would be benefitted the most and US had to pay concerning Job loss and down growth in oil, manufacturing industries.

Further, in action mode, India has a plan Rs 65,000-crore project to reduce greenhouse gases from agriculture. The objective of the project, between 2018 and 2025, is to “sequestrate” 49.9 million tonnes of carbon gasses through improved agro-ecosystems. For this, there are many eco-bodies to develop in regions of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Mizoram.

But another side, the world is not yet united and have faithful consensus over what other fellow countries and India are acting on climate change. 97% climate scientists have agreement over the prime cause of global warming as human activities. The country like the USA, world leader at the economic and social front, is yet in a debate with itself about the question of climate change. Previously, Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) head Scott Pruitt had given out his controversial thought that global warming may be beneficial to health. He had also earlier denied the fact that carbon is the critical driver for climate change. It is hard to gulp down the point that America, being one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases is arguing on a scientific truth! As Leonardo Dicaprio (Actor turned Leader in fighting climate change) says ‘it’s like arguing whether Gravity exists or not!’

We see so many platforms and celebrities coming up to discuss ideologies or election in the ongoing fighting mood of the nation. All the ‘Chunav-Prachar’ of BJP-Congress/Nationalism-Anti-Nationalism is sidelining this important and immediate threat we are facing! Not even a handful of intellectuals have come forward to discuss and promote the urgency of this matter as they have come forward to talk beef and constitution. How many summits and conclaves have we seen in India for climate change! It seems like the struggle to raise awareness and bring remedial measures is limited to street plays, colleges and NGO.

It’s genuinely high time that we bring in leaders from across the nation and discuss climate change. It’s time for media to take up the responsibility to not just sensationalize what some minister said or what party did what campaign! We should be discussing and debating on Newshour/Primetime on why the implementations for climate change are not yet practical. Instead of continually ridiculing ideologies and talk about polarisation the media should discuss climate and educate the masses on small steps we can take to mitigate the rising levels of climate warming.

The vast portions of climate deterioration come from the consumerist cycle which is aggravated from time to time. Consumerism is the worst sinner of all. The more you buy, more the demand, more the production and more the resources are consumed! Consumerism and the vicious cycle of the advertising industry is altogether another scheme of discussion.

Forget party symbols, forget anthems, forget ideologies. If you don’t have water to grow your rice, you are pretty much doomed as the rich jiggies! If climate change was a movie, then we could have ended the script very well by figuring out a way to stop this mess. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t row like that. The power is in our hands to call our vote for leaders to let them know that we know the truth about climate change. We have the solution to bring the difference, but it’s a shame to say that we lack the political will to do so! Thousands of establishments, thousands of initiatives, thousands of NGOs and thousands of petitions. All lies wasted because some hands could not serve the doomed faith of the planet?

Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, (And let me add to the famous quote…), Only after the last elections has been contested, Only after the last officer with Kiton K-50 or Desmond Merrion Supreme Bespoke suit, Rejects an environmental petition or bill, Will we understand that we cannot eat money, or neither politicians can save us!

Dear India, the polls are around the corner. Let’s talk about climate change! 

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Further,

The Crisis in Agriculture is the Crisis of the Country

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code: Tale Of A Missed Opportunity

Sujith Nair

Contributing writer at