WION Edit: Need to make climate action an election issue

WION Delhi Nov 22, 2019, 04.26 PM(IST)

Representational Image. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

Prevention is always better than cure and the time to prevent climate change is fast running out.

Refugee crisis is one of the most dangerous problems in today's world and climate change is a major cause for displacement of people. 

Refugees are political hot potatoes and their stories are unfortunate. Imagine their plight and the kind of extremes they go to, at the risk of life. 

According to the United Nations (UN), there are 13.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and other countries. Turkey wants to send them back to Syria, Erdogan threatens to send them to Europe.

Human weapons - that's what these displaced people have become. In India, we're debating the NRC (National Register of Citizens) and the fears over a refugee crisis.

We could go on, but here's the thing - refugees are already a massive problem and add to it, climate refugees.

What can and should we do about this? On WION Edit, that's what we discuss. Because prevention is always better than cure and the time to prevent climate change is fast running out.

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, natural disasters have left 18 million people homeless in 2017. This is more than 60 per cent of global displacements.

Furthermore, more than a billion people live in areas with 'very high' or 'high' climate change exposure. Eight conflict-ridden countries have 10 per cent people exposed to high climate change.

In a few years, most of them could become refugees and the magnitude is just a part of the problem. Climate change is a risk multiplier.   

Natural disasters can trigger wars, conflicts and unrest. Peace and climate action are not standalone entities, they are related to each other directly.

So, it's not just the economic cost, the social cost of climate change can change the world as we know it and for the worse. Resource crunch is not a simple issue. Species have become extinct due to resource crunch and human beings, all said and done, are just another species.

So how do we prevent it? The answer lies in the question - who is trying to prevent it?
Yes, several countries including India have taken steps, but these are baby steps, at best. Is climate change is a serious political issue anywhere in the world?

The political class is intent on continuing with the status quo and activists are scared about the future of humanity. Sadly, there has been no co-ordinated attempt to tackle climate change across the world. Yes, the wealthy, industrialised countries produce the bulk of carbon emissions.

And the developing and under-developed countries are paying the price, but when people ask questions - the leaders point fingers at each other.

Climate change has to become the number 1 election issue. Why? Because we are not equipped to handle the consequences of climate change.

India particularly needs to act faster than others. In five years, India is projected to become the world's most populated country.

If we face a refugee crisis, the society and economy will face huge risks. India has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 35 per cent by 2030, but are the environmental laws strong enough?

Are politicians making tangible promises matched by data to address the issue? This is an urgent crisis and the faster way to get governments to act is this  - vote on the basis of climate action.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)