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Five Years after Paris Agreement: India’s Role in Addressing Climate Challenges

It has been five years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. However, the world is not even close to achieving the climate goals that would limit the temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius.
India is a developing country which faces a multitude of problems with respect to pollution and the environment. In fact, it has been observed that more than half of the world’s top 20 of most polluted cities are all in India. In order to tackle the pollution, the country has taken several steps that include changing of policy, to the installation of infrastructure to spreading the awareness.
While it is developing at a very fast pace, India is not really responsible for the climate change that was caused by historic exploitatory acts. Union Environment Minister of India, Prakash Javadekar has reiterated this by saying, “India’s historical contribution to this phenomenon of climate change is only three per cent. India is not responsible for the problem of climate change. Still, we will do our bit. Presently, we are contributing only 6.8 per cent of global emissions and per capita emissions is only 1.9 tonnes. Thus, our historical, as well as present contribution to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, is low.”
He further highlighted that India is among the few countries that is in compliance with the agreement. In fact, India is the only G20 nation to be in compliance with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
This has also been reiterated by the recent report by Germanwatch that said, India is among the top 10 countries in the world along with the United Kingdom and the European Union, ranked for its performance for climate mitigation according to the latest Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).

Need for More Climate Action in India

While the points made by the honourable Minister are valid, they cannot be used as justification for reducing climate action. India needs to take more initiatives for the preservation of the environment for the following reasons.
Global warming is happening now. It is affecting life right now. There is no time to wait before one starts taking environment conservation seriously. Even if India is not responsible for causing climate change, it shares the same earth and environment as the other countries, making every little change happening to it affecting it directly. Considering the fact that the planet is suffering because of anthropogenic activities, it should be checked immediately to contain the damage.
Half of India’s landmass is in the tropical region. The warm and humid climate of the country is highly suitable for not just biodiversity, but also for the culture of various viruses as well as bacteria. If climate change occurs at a faster rate, it will affect India so much more than the temperate countries.
India has an agrarian economy with a majority of its population involved in agriculture. Climate change is a serious threat to India’s economy.
It is important to understand that India is on the right path to address the climate change challenge. It needs to keep going in the same manner and in fact pace up its climate conservation projects to improve the social as well as economic development scenario in the country.