While the West is busy touting global warming as the biggest threat to the human race, life and death in India continue as usual.
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) is the claim that carbon dioxide emissions resulting from human activity have caused global temperatures to reach dangerous levels, and that this will cause catastrophic impacts on the earth. Yet the hype and alarmism accompanying this theory are wholly disproportionate to the harsh realities of life in poor countries, like my own,
India is known to be a land of contrasts. Although continued growth and the booming economy have improved the living standards of those who live in cities, there are many in the country (both urban and rural) who still work for less than $5 a day. And a survey in 2015 revealed that 70 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people still live in poverty.
For the men and women who find it difficult to even afford three meals a day, global warming scares appear almost laughable compared to their daily struggles. They are far more concerned about the essentials such as food, housing, education, and better jobs.
Ramasamy is a resident in southern India who owns 15 acres of farmland primarily used for the cultivation of coconut, rice, and vegetables. I asked him about his views on CAGW. Despite having no access to the temperature data, he insists that the temperature change has not been drastic, and that he has experienced different climatic conditions throughout his lifetime. When I explained the whole CAGW saga that has been covered in the global news media, he dismissed it as something that doesn’t impact his immediate future.
In contrast, I had a discussion with Sudhan, a jewelry businessman in the same neighborhood. He was quick to insist that CAGW is real and has been a well-documented scientific phenomenon. The nearly unanimous reporting by the global news media on CAGW and the recent spike in temperature levels during the El Nino cycle are the two reasons cited by him for his opinion. My reasoning with him on the shortcomings of the CAGW agenda didn’t affect his opinion. He admitted that his lack of knowledge leaves him no option but to trust the global media, and the United Nations. But, despite his position, he too claimed that the impact of CAGW on his daily life cannot be identified and quantified and is not significant enough to press the panic button.
The government and mainstream media in India have been cautious in their advocacy of CAGW. The country and its people face far more pressing situations than a supposed climate crisis which couldn’t be observed in the reliable satellite measurements for the past 18 years.
The country has no option but to burn coal for its energy requirements. Despite the aggressive campaign for the conversion to renewable energy (a low-yield and expensive option), the country is forecasted to heavily depend on coal for the next 25 years and beyond. Coal, which is being demonized by those on the climate bandwagon, has been helping billions in India meet the basic needs of everyday life.
The climate alarm is still not heard in millions of homes in India, and there is no sufficient reason it needs to be heard. The West may pressure the Indian government to alter its fossil fuel based development goals, but with no global warming in 18 years, and no real scientific consensus on CAGW among the scientific community (no matter what the media claims), India must do what’s best for its people.
CAGW or not—India will burn its fossils to protect the poor.