What's with the Climate?

Voices of a Subcontinent grappling with Climate Change


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What is the truth about the Himalaya’s Glacier melt? Why not go see for yourself?

In recent times I’ve been reading a lot about climate change not being real. First the climate gate scandal followed by

These mountains in the depths of district of Chamba in the state of Himachal Pradesh (India) used to have a lot more snow.

the many articles attacking the IPCC for incorrectly publishing information on the glaciers melting in the Himalayas by 2035. Climate scientists, economics, politicians and business persons are being interviewed left, right and centre.

The question on the lips of the public is – what is the truth? The truth is such an interesting thing – where more often than not, it is a human tendency for a person to believe what they want to hear.

I pose a question to all people who are jumping on the bandwagon of denying the Himalayan glacier melt due to an error made by the IPCC, and denying the existence of climate change. How many of you have been to the Himalayas? How many of you have spoken to the citizens in the mountains of India and Nepal who have spent their whole lives there? 

Very few of you – if any.

I do not say this to accuse anyone of being a immoral or irresponsible, however before we make accusatory remarks and write articles of great consequence, we must get our facts straight.

I am not a climate scientist, economist, business person or a politician. However I have been to the Himalayas and met some of its people.

I was up near Haridwar, at the foot of the Himalaya’s in northern India only weeks ago, speaking to friends and colleagues who have grown up in the mountains their entire lives. Every single person spoke with sadness at how quickly the glaciers have receded in their lifetime. Some mentioned to me how many of them have had to move homes in search of better soil, because the melting glaciers have meant changes in water access and there for loss of agricultural productivity. For those of you who are farmers, I’m sure you can understand how painful that process can be.

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Bin Laden – How To Respond

This has been crossposted from http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2010/01/29/bin-laden-how-to-respond/#comments.

Climategate was a well coordinated, strategic and devestating attack on the Copenhagen climate talks in December last year. With unprecedented moves from U.S. and China in the run-up, the world’s media and attention was hooked onto the alleged manipulation of data at the University of East Anglia. That stolen information framed the entire negotiations, and set it up for failure.

Today the prospect of a clean-energy economy faces a new threat.

Osama bin Laden has called for the world to boycott American goods and the U.S. dollar, blaming the United States for climate change, according to a new audiotape released today. Right-wing media outlets including The Daily Telegraph, Drudge and Fox News, are already seizing on the al-Qaida leader’s comments. All this on the same day that the American administration formally announced it’s 2020 carbon targets, and a 39% increase in wind-power.

Those in the struggle for a clean-energy economy and safe climate future, should ask themselves why bin Laden would come out with this statement. This is the man who has shown no concern for human life, indeed revels in killing innocent people – why does he now care about rising sea-levels?

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Indian Youth Summit on Climate Change: Day 2

This morning, the events at the second day of the India Youth Summit on Climate Change began by a presentation by Bittu Sehgal, founder of Sanctuary Magazine, renowned author, and environmentalist, spoke about the importance of the Summit and the IYCN in India. “Young people have power,” he said, “and it is time to use it to your advantage.” One of his major messages was that we all need to take action in our own lives, actions small and large, to make a difference. He said, “If a lot do a little, a lot gets done.”
He also discussed climate equity, the sense that those who are most responsible for the emissions leading to climate change are not the ones who will be feeling the most of the impacts of the changes. He said that climate equity is not only true between nations but within the nation itself. However, he encouraged that we get past the debate on climate equity to the discussion of unified action. He said, “If your house is on fire, you cant go downstairs and have a debate on who started the fire and who is responsible to put it out. You need to get some water and put it out.” While the West may not be taking action fast enough to mitigate climate impacts, this is not a reason for India to be hesitating on climate action, as well.


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Indian Youth Summit on Climate: Day 1

Today in Hyderabad was a momentous occasion, as the city is hosting the nation’s first youth summit on climate change, organized by the Indian Youth Climate Network and its partners, hosted by Infosys in Gachibowli. The Indian Youth Summit on Climate Change is bringing together more than 150 youth from across the nation, representing more than fifteen states of India, to discuss climate change and identify a common youth vision for climate action on mitigation and adaptation.

Today’s inaugural session of the Indian Youth Summit on Climate Change began with a presentation by Mr. Nitin Desai, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, who spoke about the importance of youth coming together to discuss and address climate change. He emphasized that there was a complete scientific consensus on the issue of climate change being caused by human activities, and that we all needed to unite to address the issue.

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Visions for the Future

Vision of young people is simple – we want to enjoy a stable climate that our parents grandparents have enjoyed, one without hundreds and thousands of refugees, resource scarcity, and natural disasters.

 

The IPCC has stated that to give us a 50% chance of preventing two degrees warming we will require global emissions to be stabilized at 450ppm. Now, even venture capitalists would agree that 50% chance of return isn’t a worthwhile investment. Imagine the loss of this investment resulting in the destruction of our planet. My vision for the long term is that India makes to the 350ppm target, which gives us a strong chance at preventing runaway climate change. Clean technology will need a very strong presence to make this vision reality.

  

My vision of the next 12 months, which will progress beyond that, is somewhat Gandhi-an.

 

The Indian attitude to climate change is changing and it is going to heavily impact the cleantech market. What we’re seeing now, with the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) as a great example is that people have an increasing awareness of climate change in both the urban and rural communities of India. Climate change more than anything is an issue of humanity. When it comes to times of crisis humans often band together. India’s fight for independence is an epic example. Climate change is bringing the global community, and will bring India together. It was not luck that allowed IYCN to expand from 3 to over 300 individual members, harbour more than 10 member groups and have the reach to over 205,000 young Indians nation wide. It is not luck that has allowed IYCN to achieve the support of globally rooted organisations such as Infosys, Greenpeace, Reva, WWF and media houses such as NDTV, times of India, the Hindustan times and the Hindu within 4 months of its inception.

  

Every Indian I’ve met has hope that India will become a developed nation, will not have millions of people die each year from malnutrition disease, and natural catastrophes. We’re working so hard to build our economy, aiming for superpower status, and becoming a leader in the world in many areas, it seems somewhat ludicrous if India doesn’t take far stronger action on climate change, because if it doesn’t, the malnutrition, disease and natural catastrophes are only going to get worse. Hence I feel, like in our fight for independence, the youth & people of India will unite and take action for solutions.

 

I have 4 big visions. Firstly, an increase in consumer demand for retail & bulk energy from cleantech, Secondly, innovative cleantech transport solutions, thirdly, strong growth in rural clean tech projects, and finally, clean tech being the next IT.

 

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