Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect 

In the Biblical story of creation, after God creates man, He gives to man (and woman) the mandate to be a steward of the creation which they have been privileged to enjoy and to preserve and care for it. Sadly, this has often been breached and most often by those whose civilization has been shaped by the Bible and what it teaches. The recently concluded Heiligendamm summit of the G-8 nations provided a good opportunity for those nations who have the biggest political influence in the world to address the issue of climate change seriously. It was actually the main item on the agenda, the main course on the menu.  It is therefore a pity that that the agenda of the main summit got some what hijacked by the simmering differences between the US and Russia on missile defense and the fact that this was British Prime minister Tony Blair’s last major global conference before he steps down. 


While nations who have the power to make things happen and are effectively the globe’s movers and shakers chug along merrily and keep deferring making real choices and decisions , the countries where the climate change is going to hit the most and the earliest have no voice at all to voice their concerns except activist NGO environment groups. Although the methods that many of these groups use to garner attention may arouse distaste, there is no getting away from the facts. 


Take for instance, Bangladesh. The media there has been raving and ranting about the effects of climate change and global warming and its effects which the country will feel pretty early. Also, unless action is taken pretty quickly, many of the changes will be irreversible. the impact of the climate change, the sea level use will lift up 100 cm at the end of the 21st century and flood 15 to 17 per cent land of Bangladesh that will make about two crore people in the country homeless. 


There are also effects expected on the economy. Rising levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere has begun to affect crop yields. Production of main food crops like rice, wheat and potato will deplete steadily as the climate changes more and more, and by 2015 Bangladesh, along with neighboring countries, may be forced to look for new brand of crops. Food insecurity in a country where famine and starvation deaths are part of the collective psyche is or should be a cause of concern. 


Two things disturb me as I read all the literature coming out of the G-8 summit and as I recollect all that I heard about in Bangladesh about the concerns surrounding the whole climate change issue. One is that we in India seem to be intoxicated by the short term goals of high economic growth and are part of the villains in this whole game. Along with China, the USA,Japan and Australia, we appear to be part of a cartel who would like to veto any attempt to adopt a target for emissions cuts, however inadequate. Experts reckon that we need to cut emissions by 80 or 90 percent, and by 2030, to have any chance of keeping global warming at levels where damage can be minimized. 


The other disturbing element is that states like Bangladesh and other nations from the two third world do not seem to have a voice in forum of worth. They do not get invited to chats over power lunches in the G- 8 summit or the World Economic Forum and with a weak(and currently care taker) government, the voice of those who are going to be most effected like the fishermen of the Sunderbans is never going to be heard. 


What is interesting to me in al this is not that a few industrailaized nations or industrializing nations have ganged up to safe guard their narrower national interests but that India is a part of this cartelization of the environment. Till not too long ago, there was another grouping of nations that was active on the world stage and that was the Group of 77 and here India provided active leadership in this forum of the two thirds world. At that point, we in India loved to identify and sniff out the foreign hand – or more specifically, a particular foreign hand. Now when did we switch sides and become an ally of those very same foreign hands that we so loved to hate. Clearly the world is changing as rapidly as the environment around us.

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