Is Our Planet Earth’s Recession Resilient?

Akash Purushotham

Akash Purushotham

Thundercast Podcast Producer

Do you have any plans to visit Venice soon? What are your preferred airlines for vacation flights? Don’t forget to bring your iPhone to take nice pictures!!!! But keep in mind that one iPhone creates 64kg of CO2 during its lifetime. A trip from New York to Rome emits around 1,015 kg of CO2, which is less than the typical individual emits in his whole life in 57 countries. Unfortunately, our grandchildren might not be able to visit Venice because this city might be submerged under the ocean by 2100. Global warming and Climate change are one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Climate change is estimated to cost us $23 trillion each year by 2050. It would directly affect around 80% of the world’s population.

But exactly what consequence has it had on our planet? Since the late 1800s, the average surface temperature on the Earth has risen by around 1 degree Celsius. Since 1969, the top 100 meters of the ocean have warmed by more than 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The bulk of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has shrunk. Glaciers are receding practically everywhere on Earth, including the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, and Alaska. Over the previous century, the global sea level has risen by around 8 inches. The change was driven mostly by growing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and other human activities. One recent catastrophic event was the Monsoon floods in Pakistan which affected about 33 million people out of the country’s 220 million population, costing this low-income country around $30 billion.

How do the current recession, inflation, and even the Russia-Ukraine conflict affect climate change and impact our future actions? The Covid-19 pandemic stunned the whole planet in early 2020. The entire human race has watched the world come to a standstill with lockdowns and ensuing reductions in economic activity and production. On the positive side, it is evident that the rate of climate change and global warming has slowed. Regrettably, we have paid a high price in the form of 6.5 million fatalities. In terms of economics, the pandemic has become one of the primary reasons for the current recession and inflation. Although there are some obvious short-term benefits to climate change and sustainable development goals from this economic slowdown, those benefits may overlap with some larger challenges associated with environmental conservation, energy savings, natural resource protection, and ocean conservation. This recession and inflation will have a significant influence on the government’s support for environmental conservation policies. Spending on reducing emissions may be too expensive for countries that were experiencing the worst financial crisis in two decades. From giant MNCs to budding startups are experiencing earnings slumps and skimpy productivity. This will have a significant influence on the companies’ commitment to climate action. The recession will undoubtedly demotivate green investments. This situation will have an impact on the research and development of green technologies. This economic slowdown will delay many government and corporate efforts to shift towards energy-efficient and environment-friendly policies. Essentially Russia-Ukraine war, apart from the significant loss of human lives, had a great impact on the environment. The war has added millions of tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which will take years to rejuvenate. Evidently, the Nord Stream pipeline explosion alone has released nearly 500,000 tons of Methane gas which is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases. 

It is time we realize that all the development we triumphed over the past few centuries was a race to the bottom. The advancement this world witnessed has jolted down to a mere catastrophe for our future generations. We shall hope governments choose a rational and \reasonable approach to reducing greenhouse gases emission, especially in these critical times. The recent development of the Climate-Damage fund to empower low-income countries in fighting climate change at cop27 is a great initiative. But to what extent governments transcend politics to gain a common voice on sustainable climate action is a real challenge. It is indeed very essential that every responsible organization and institution should commit towards action. Optimism, confidence, and essentially a serious empathy towards the environment is imperative. One of the greatest achievements is that we have acknowledged that there is an immediate need to act. “Every privilege Comes with a responsibility.” Humankind had the privilege of the greatest resources in the universe. It is our responsibility to use them wisely and hand them over to future generations. Let them Experience the Snow of the Himalayas, the Fun of Clean Beaches, the Comforts of a Mountain House, and the Reminiscence of a Monsoon breeze!    

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/jul/19/carbon-calculator-how-taking-one-flight-emits-as-much-as-many-people-do-in-a-year

https://climate.nasa.gov

https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-cop27-poorer-countries-secure-climate-damage-fund-without-pledging-faster-emissions-cuts-11668947145?mod=world_lead_pos2

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