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Sustainability is not a choice, but a necessity

Feb 12, 2014

South Asian region is most vulnerable to climate change impact, warns Thet Thet Zin, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Myanmar.

New Delhi: The impact of climate change is more visible now then it was two decades before. The fourth assessment report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific intergovernmental body, clearly substantiates earlier findings showing the unequivocal effect of human actions in altering the global climate.

Political representatives from various countries including Bhutan, Myanmar, Mexico, Mongolia, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom, talking about the various greeninitiatives being run in their respective countries, said that a combination of political will and the change in mindset only could prevent the world from succumbing to the hazards of climate change.

The leaders speaking during the session on ‘Dealing with the impacts of Climate Change’ at the 14thDelhi Sustainable Development Summit, exchanged ideas on the ways to tackle issues like carbon dioxideemissions, longer dry seasons and chilling cold in the western parts of the world.

Lord Prescott,Former Deputy PM and Member of Parliament, UK, said that change cannot happen just by policy statements. Prescott emphasisedon the need of legal framework at both the national and international levels.There has to be some legal framework for achieving low carbon energy.

Expecting positive results from the DSDS-2014, Prescott highlighted the role that could be played by legislators in influencing governments on the climate change issue.

The small mountainous country of Bhutan inspired all by the tremendous work it has done to fight to the climate change.Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture& forests, Bhutan, said that sustainable development was not a choice but an absolute necessity.

Bhutan has maintained that climate change has to be tackled within the framework of sustainable development. “Bhutan has forest cover on 70% of the land and 60% of the land has been reserved for forest cover for all times to come,” Dorji said.

Raising concerns for India which holds most of the Himalayan region,he said that melting Himalayan glaciers are leading to increased frequency floods.

Lauding the efforts of Bhutan,John Gummer, Lord Deben, Former Secretary of State for Environment & Member of Parliament, UK, urged the world to learn some essential lessons on how to avoid the ‘global battle’ on climate change.

Thet Thet Zin, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Myanmar, quoting an ADB report, said that the South Asian region was most vulnerable to climate change. Human beings have to be at the centre of sustainable development, she said.

“Ground water table is lowering in the dry regions of Myanmar. Fresh water is a big challenge for all of us,”Zinsaid.

Oyun Sanjaasuren, Minister of Environment and Green Development, Mongolia, said that her countrywas disproportionately affected by climate change impact. Given its harsh climate, it is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, she said.

“The change in climate is affecting the whole world especially countries that depend highly on agriculture for sustenance. An example of such country is Mongolia which is the 12th most affected by climate change,” she said.

Jorge Moreira da Silva, Minister of Environment, Portugal,said that the year 2015 could be a litmus test for the world. According to him, climate change is at the centre of policy framework for Portugal. “60% of electricity is from renewable energy. We look at green growth as a major policy,” he said.

Graco Raminrez Garrido Abreu, Governor of Morelos, Mexico, said that sustainability cannot be traded with growth.

Lars Andreas Lunde, State Secretary of Climate Environment, Norway, said that not addressing climate change would lead to increase in poverty. Energy amounts to 60% of the green house gas emissions.

According to him, forest degradation is only a global issue but also a local problem. “If we cannot reduce deforestation, arresting climate change adversities would become very difficult,” he said.

The political representatives also faced various questions from the audience including the one that why such crucial development issues are discussed without the presence of representatives from the finance ministry.

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