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Climate Calling

Climate conservation needs more of informed action than of contagious Samaritanism.

 

The global climate change strikes of 20–27 September 2019 bring to mind the old saying, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” While this saying provides a rather eloquent explication of the need and urgency of youth protagonists for climate protection, its suggestions are more profound with the concept of intergenerational responsibility of climate preservation being valid not only within a particular country, but also across countries. In both scenarios, collective and collaborative actions for preserving the climate as a common good are constrained by the historical responsibility of users/emitters in contributing to the total stock of emissions. Contrary to the intuitive understanding that, historically, low emitters will have lower mitigation responsibilities in future, the (partisan) pressure of accountability on them, in practice, is generally found to be higher than that on the high emitters.

In this context, it is heartening to see youths across Indian cities rising to the cause of climate protection. But, simultaneously, there is also a growing concern as to whether the protest agenda can adequately address the political undertone that commonly pervades the issue of climate governance, in both its content and spirit. While there has been an increasing use of human rights laws by the plaintiffs in climate change litigations over the last 10 years or so, the success of such a rights-based approach needs to be scrutinised with cautious optimism by practitioners and stakeholders on various grounds.

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Updated On : 1st Oct, 2019

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