During times of spiraling oil prices and rising concerns on global climate change, two documents have hit the desk. These are Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
Where ECBC was long overdue; NAPCC came up just in time of a couple of months. On the eve of 30th July, in a ceremony graced with the presence of distinguished personalities working to conserve the environment – Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh unveiled the National action Plan on Climate Change. With the unveiling of NAPCC, Indian government has kept its promise to shoulder the moral responsibility to hand down to our children a world which is safe, clean and productive, a world which should continue to inspire the human imagination.
Environment conservation is of utmost importance in a rapidly developing country like India which is consuming its natural resources at very fast pace. However, the depletion of natural resources is not the only price we pay for development, but the other implications are more long lasting and dangerous. The direct implications of consuming natural resources in an unregulated manner can be seen in the mayhem concerning the availability oil, food and water across the globe. The indirect implications are the depleting ozone layer (don’t forget the great ozone hole), melting of glaciers and ice caps, rising sea level, decreasing forest density and above all, the increasing volume of free carbon in the atmosphere. It is a scientific fact that no element can be destroyed or produced in natural conditions; so is the case with carbon.
The main stable forms of Carbon on earth are hydrocarbons like petroleum and mineral ores. With the beginning of the era of Industrialization, we started using these stable forms of Carbon to convert it into lighter forms like Carbon Monoxide (CO), Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Chloro-fluoro-carbons (CFCs). These carbon products are mostly volatile and thus are all gaseous. The Carbon gases, popularly known as green house gases, create an insulating sphere around the lower earth atmosphere. This envelope allows the heat rays of sun to come to earth but resist the loss of heat in space. This causes the temperature of Earth to rise. This is a gradual process and any noticeable increase in temperature is observed only for a minimum time lag of a decade.
The National action Plan on Climate Change tries to put a cap over the carbon emission sources by refining both the appliances and the fuels. This includes the regular checks on the grey levels of the smoke emitted from factory chimneys, discouraging use of long chain plastic, water conservation etc.
The National Action Plan on Climate Change encompasses a very broad and extensive range of measures; exactly the way it should be since the challenge we face is complex in nature. Nevertheless, under NAPCC – the government is to focus our national energies on Eight National Missions which will be pursued as key components of our strategy for sustainable development. These include National Missions on Solar Energy, on Enhanced Energy Efficiency, on Sustainable Habitat, on Conserving Water, on Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, on creating a “Green India”, on Sustainable Agriculture and finally, on establishing a Strategic Knowledge Platform for Climate Change.
The NAPCC is also important in light of the forthcoming G8 summit, where India is going to find itself in a quagmire for a sustained attack on two fronts. One is from the US on imposition of tariff barriers against exported goods from India (that are seen as products with large carbon footprints) such as iron and steel. On the other end, the Japanese are accusing India on sectoral approaches, that is, creating international energy efficiency standards for polluting industries across the world. Both the things are very harmful for India’s foreign trade affairs and so, India can make its point through this launch of NAPCC. However, over a period of time, we must pioneer a shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels.
Image Source: http://www.linfield.edu/soan/et/images/SER_27052007125123.jpg