Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Can we create an ethical Indian man?

BBC's Newsnight team travelled to Mumbai earlier this month as part of their series on global warming and ethical living. Unfortunately much of the debate on this issue remains trapped in two extreme positions like Justin Rowlatt of the Newsnight team points out:

A) That India is a world-class polluter... It has already overtaken Japan to become the fourth biggest producer of greenhouse gases on earth. In 2000 India was responsible for 1.89 billion tonnes of CO2 (5.6 per cent of the world total) – just a few million tonnes behind the Russian Federation - 1.91 billion tonnes (5.7%).


B) That the per capita pollution is minute compared to most countries... Between 1950 and 2000 each American produced 642.0 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Each Briton toted up 499.1 tonnes. Over the same period the average Indian was responsible for just 16.5 tonnes. That is one of the lowest figures for any country on earth - 164th out of 185 countries - and is less than the average American is responsible for in a single year.

The way out has to do with greater thrust on alternative and cleaner technologies. The Indian government unfortunately remains entrenched in the first opinion and has done little (in other words needs to do far far more) to encourage cleaner technologies. Suzlon and Reva have taken the lead... Why cannot more companies follow suit? Why is public transport (buses) in Delhi and most cities still so miserable? Why cannot we have better transport so that fewer people uses their cars and bikes? Just because the western countries screwed the environment to develop doesn't mean India should also hurtle along the same path. The point that the Indian government needs to make effectively intenationally is that developed countires should do their best to transfer cleaner technologies to India and help improve our energy efficiency. Also, the Ministry of Environment and Forests needs to live up to its name... It has been sidelined for growth. What could be more ominous that the MoEF asking a government institute to "reconsider" (scroll to the bottom of the page) its position disallowing bauxite mining in Lanjigarh (Orissa)!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home