Climate Change

Climate Change

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Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi is Leading India’s Development in Gujarat keeping Environment in mind and pens a book documenting practices he implements on Climate Change – says, Mritunjay Kumar.

There has been broad agreement over the fundamentals of Climate Change in mainstream scientific circles for some time now. Climate Change is attributed directly or indirectly to human activities which alter the composition of the global atmosphere. It is well known now that its consequences for the world we live in will be disastrous, if left unchecked.

Every leader, including the head of states is expected to take steps to fight challenge of the Climate Change. But Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi seems to have taken his responsibility a bit too seriously. In his ‘practical’ response to former US Vice President Al-Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’, Modi is the second world leader to write a book on this subject titled ‘Convenient Action: Gujarat’s Response to Challenges of Climate Change’. The book primarily focuses on how Gujarat has responded to the challenges of climate change within Modi’s development vision and model. The book explicitly documents the development philosophy that forms the core of his public policy and how it has contributed to both adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change. The book claims that Gujarat is the only provincial government in the Sub-Continent to have a dedicated climate change department.

Though this first English book by Modi was released in December 2010, it is still a subject of discussions in many influential circles. It runs into 250 pages with lavish pictorial representation. It is has been published by Macmillan Publishers which has received accolades from none other than India’s Nobel laureate ‘Environmental Guru’ and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chief RK Pachauri and former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam.

While the book’s first chapter ‘From Water Riots to Water Security’ discusses that ‘The number of fluoride affected habitations increased from 2,826 in the year 1992 to 4,187 by the year 2003’When we move ahead in the chapter ‘Big is Also Beautiful (Sardar Sarovar Project)’ the author states that the water from mighty river Narmada water has been released in the dry beds of over a dozen rivers. It also claims that the ecology and water quality of these rivers have drastically improved over past few years both in irrigation and water supply.

In middle of the book, topic ‘Reducing Urban Warming’ is well taken and states “To ease the traffic congestion and simultaneously reduce the GHG emission, we have carefully planned and executed the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) at a cost of around Rs. 9,820 million. This would ultimately reduce the movement of 400,000 vehicles per day and carry 100,000 additional passengers through BRTS buses over and above AMTS buses.”

While moving deeper into the book, there is ‘Green (Golden Jubilee) Pledge’ to protect the environment, the author’s main focus is only on people; though it is unknown how the industrialists who normally are major culprits for environmental degradation anywhere are dealing with the pledge.

From Macmillan publishers, Sanjay Singh said “Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, Gujarat has effectively handled a lot of issues and they have provided solutions.”

“I would call this unique compendium of action a Green Autobiography of Narendra Modi who has shown a definite path and determined strategy to meet the Challenges of Climate Change.” said Steve Howard, CEO, The Climate Group.

However, critics say that the book is silent about the emission levels and the pollution resulting from the impact of massive industrialization of the state. In a field more marked by debates and discourses, the book stands distinct in its emphasis on action and how a conscious Climate Change Policy can bring in visible results. The book thus caters to a wide cross section of readers which includes policy makers, scientists, research scholars, students, writers and the general public at large. While concluding this book Modi advices to his readers to pause for a moment and think about all that we take from nature in a day to live and then to realize that it does not ask for anything to return. Those in Gujarat are part of our multidimensional effort to combat climate change but those in other parts of India and rest of the world are most welcome to witness and experience it.

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Somanjana Chatterjee

Somanjan Chatterjee is San Francisco based consulting editor