Monday, October 8, 2018

My response to IPCC 1.5 Deg C Report: Indigenous People, Natural Solutions key - Ranjan Panda

Indigenous Communities and Natural Solutions key to achieve 1.5 Deg C target: My quick response to IPCC SR15 – Ranjan Panda

Just released: The much awaited IPCC report on climate projections at 1.5ºC level as against the previous estimations that had been done keeping in view the 2ºC level.

The report, known as The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC or SR15, highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.

“In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030”

The three years of research, referring more than 6000 scientific studies, had to face challenges to get through the brains of policy makers during a week long discussion that was held at Incheon, Republic of Korea, last week.  The scientists reportedly tried to push their points with regard to devastating impacts that we are already facing throughout the globe due to increased global warming, but the government representatives tried to hard sell their views on how it was important to go ahead with the current model of economic progress and living standards even if it meant a compromise on vital issues such as ecology. 

The Summary for Policymakers has been able to survive the policy makers’ challenges, even though some compromises might have been inevitable, suggest reports. It is now clear that the world is heading towards a catastrophic global warming level of 3ºC if business as usual continues.  The IPCC has said, “Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.”

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

My take -

According to me, IPCC has tried to make a balanced view (in the summary for policy makers) on several alarming aspects even though it needed to be bolder.  Still, the message is clear.  Global warming cannot be ignored any further, despite of the USA pressure and deliberate ignorance, and that the real solutions needs to be emphasised upon more forcefully than ever before. Many efforts to limit global warming are underway and there are many positives, as the IPCC mentions.  However, the fight against climate change needs to integrate the role of ecosystems and local indigenous communities in much solid ways than at present. 

The IPCC report says, “Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5ºC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5ºC by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development.”

I have been maintaining for quite some time now that Nature is the primary, original and supreme technology.  All other man-made technologies can cater only to some aspects of the fight against global warming.  However, working with natural solutions would be the first and foremost requirement if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

And when we talk about natural solutions, the role of local and indigenous communities is key.  All across the world these communities have proven to be the best stewards of the local natural resources and have shown real ‘carbon neutral pathways’ in their socio-cultural and economic practices.  What the governments now need is to seriously integrate their knowledge, wisdom, practices and institutions in plans to fight against climate change. 

For that, their customary and other rights (provided under laws of the land) need to be recognised over the local resources and all possible safeguards be provided to them against the powerful people& corporates who are destroying our natural forests, rivers, mountains and all other natural resources.  Many activists are being subject to harassment, abuse and even death during their fight to save their local natural resources.

If we are serious about science in the IPCC report, then we have to be serious about the supreme science that is Nature.  Nature and nature alone can save us from the climate onslaught.  And local indigenous communities can lead us in this fight.  They have proven it.  Now we need to support them.

(We will write more pieces on this report later).


Ranjan Panda

Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Tweets @ranjanpanda
Tweets @MahanadiRiver  

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