|Globally there have been casualties and disasters from the precarious climate changes. From forests catching fire to uncalled rain and thunderstorms to the melting ice glaciers the footprints of climate vagaries can be witnessed everywhere. The UN estimated that 1.23 million have died and 4.2 billion have been affected by droughts, floods, and wildfires since 2000.|
Yet we don’t see the kind of awareness and seriousness by human beings by and large.
India under PM Modi has been a vocal champion of Climate change meetings. It is a votary to reduce carbon footprints. The third-largest carbon emitter of the world, after China and the US, India has maintained that it is on course to outperform its Paris climate agreement pledge to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from 2005 levels by 2030.The Paris climate goal is to keep global average temperature rise to well below 2C and strive for 1.5C to prevent runaway climate change.But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) report has indicated that the latter target is fast slipping out of reach because countries are not cutting down carbon emissions fast enough, causing global temperature to rise. The IPCC report has projected heat waves and humid heat stress to be more intense and frequent in South Asia during the 21st Century.It also says that both annual and summer monsoon precipitation will increase during the 21st Century.”A general wetting across the whole Tibetan Plateau and the Himalaya is projected, with increases in heavy precipitation in the 21st Century.” The UN estimated that 1.23 million have died and 4.2 billon have been affected by droughts, floods and wildfires since 2000.
What can be done:
While reducing carbon prints poses changes for economic growth especially after the stagnant corona hit period there are other ways that can be helpful. Here we would like to focus on SEAWEEDS which are excellent absorbers of carbon dioxide from the environment. SEAWEEDS can be grown easily and does not require high expenses. Pilot trials have already been initiated by some leading industries in the country and the project can be commercialized soon if the government provides some motivation and push. Niti Aayog has already taken some initial lead under member V K Saraswat in this regard. A team from TiFAC also visited the seaweed site to take a note of this excellent natural absorber of carbon.
Unfortunately, some NGO has taken a negative opinion on seaweeds citing other hazard which is irrational and unscientific. Government has to be strict and firm in dealing with such trivial and vested NGO writings and reports and must not allow to distract themselves. IN a democracy NGOs are always used to create hurdles in good govt projects and we have seen this earlier too.
Besdies Seaweeds, there is another mechanism which can be helpful to avert a full blown climate change crisis. The country has been seeing increasing Desertification. As per a report the following data is shown towards desertification status in the country.
96 million hectares or close to 29% of India’s area is undergoing degradation.According to the Government’s data recently presented to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), India lost 31%, or 5.65 million hectares (mha), of grassland area in a decade.The extent of degraded land in India is over 105 million hectares or about 32% of India’s areas.India has witnessed an increase in the level of desertification in 26 of 29 states between 2003-05 and 2011-13.More than 80% of the country’s degraded land lies in just nine states.  There is also clear and available data that shows desertification is linked to climate change. The usage of bamboo can be taken in a large manner to stop this desertification. The Indian government has already taken this route. The government has worked out a plan to combat climate change and desertification, and create a sustainable source of income for around five lakh tribals through bamboo cultivation.
Pravir Krishna, chairman of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India, which comes under the ministry, said they will set up 100 Van Dhan centres in the northeast states as well as Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha to make bamboo products and market them.”The government will provide financial help to these centres, which will employ three lakh to five lakh tribals. We expect these units to come up by October 31,” Krishna said.Explaining the role of bamboo in mitigating climate change and fighting desertification, he said it has a higher carbon sequestration potential compared to other trees and can help restore fertility of degraded land.Sequestration is a natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.”Compared to other trees, bamboo can capture more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it. It’s a fast-growing grass, can be harvested regularly and used for making a number of products such as matchsticks, textile, furniture, scaffolding, artifacts, etc,” Krishna said.”At present, China uses 90 per cent of a bamboo plant. We use only 20 per cent, and that’s why bamboo products are expensive in India and its market is dead. We need to revive it. A study commissioned by TRIFED says we will miss the bus if we do not take necessary steps,” he said.Kishna said bamboo-based products act as a sustainable, low-carbon alternative to timber, PVC, aluminum and concrete.India has set a target of restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.Under the Van Dhan Scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April last year, the government plans to set up 60,000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training of tribals. These units include primary processing and value addition facility.Each Van Dhan centre involves 15 self-help groups, each including 20 tribal gatherers.The First 600 Van Dhan centers, including those for bamboo products, are expected to be sanctioned by September 15.
Climate change poses a real and near-term threat that has to be fought at war levels. Besides curbing fossil fuel-based economy there are other manners through which carbon dioxide footprints can be reduced. Here we have shown two techniques that are very efficient, less expensive, and natural ways to reduce carbon dioxide. The government must go all out to encourage the usage of seaweeds and bamboo growth in the country to boost such efforts.
 https://www.drishtiias.com/to-the-points/paper3/desertification-1 https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/govt-to-push-bamboo-plantation-to-fight-climate-change-desertification-and-boost-tribal-income-119090901027_1.html
Dr. Asheesh Shah
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