The Bold Voice of J&K

Importance of climate education in India

71

Dear Editor,
India has ranked last (180) in the Environment Performance Index (EPI), 2022, recently released by Yale University. India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change rejected the EPI methodology, pointing out several oversights in the way countries have been assessed. The fact that the EPI methodology does not take in to account historical track records of emissions while assuming hypothetical future projections pushes back the international community to the discord between developing countries who now need to bear the burden of development as well as environmental protection, while developed economies who built their GDP with unbridled pollution in the past now need to focus on the latter alone.
On the other hand, the Indian government and industry must recognise the wake-up call. While regulations for measuring, disclosing, and mitigating emissions are still woefully lax in India, there is inadequate knowledge, resources, and skills amongst industries to do so. Publicly listed companies are under regulatory pressure by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to measure, disclose and hopefully mitigate their emissions, albeit without much support. Nevertheless, when these companies attempt to modify their processes, products, energy sources, and supply chains, they will need funds, new technologies, and people with appropriate skills.
As per a January 2022 report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, India can potentially create about 3.4 million jobs by installing 238 GW solar and 101 GW new wind capacity to achieve the 500 GW non-fossil electricity generation capacity by 2030. Thus, job opportunities abound to help make India’s climate transition, but where are the people to take up these jobs? To meet India’s net zero targets by 2070, the Indian government will need to create well informed policies that keep the interests of its most vulnerable population at the centre of its climate action. To deliver India’s net zero promise, the ‘new way of business’ needs India’s brightest talent to study climate change and work in the field of climate change mitigation. In response to the urgent need to skill top talent in climate jobs, Stanford University’s first new school in 70 years has been established to accelerate solutions to global climate crisis. Recently, a handful of leading universities globally have established climate schools as well. The assessment and ranking of countries, or for those matter even companies, on their environment and sustainability performance by credible organisations usually have a singular aim of nudging the relevant entities to improve. This seems to be the case of EPI as well. The Indian government needs to focus on areas for improvement in its environmental performance. This must imperatively include urgently ramping up climate education in India.
Vijay Garg.

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