Zia Haq picks his favourite read of 2022
India saw its hottest summer ever on record this year, which scientists at Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology have, based on evidence, attributed to global warming
India saw its hottest summer ever on record this year, which scientists at Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology have, based on evidence, attributed to global warming. This is the first time experts in India have directly linked a local extreme-weather event to climate change. A scorching heatwave in March shriveled India’s wheat crop, crimping output by 3 million tonne. A patchy monsoon followed.
Climate change is hurting. COP27, the big climate conference held in Egypt this month, achieved something yet nothing. The conference agreed to create a Loss and Damage fund to help developing economies deal with the consequences of climate change. It was, expectedly, a squabbling platform for the West and the Global South. Next year’s COP28 in UAE will again see bickering between the two blocs.
That the fate of our planet rests on global climate diplomacy — from the Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement — rather than local efforts and action is tragic. And climate diplomacy isn’t working. That’s the key inference of the authors of Fixing the Climate: Strategies for an Uncertain World written by Charles F Sabel and David G Victor. Sabel is professor at Columbia Law School. David Victor is professor of innovation and public policy at UC San Diego.
They convincingly explain why big transformations needed for deep cuts in emissions must arise locally. Stopping climate change requires an environmentalist approach, not a diplomatic one. The authors show why climate change can’t be fixed by top-down global treaties or grand bargains among nations. They point to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which protects the ozone layer, as a successful example of the environmentalist approach. This will entail governments and businesses work locally together to experiment with new technologies, quickly learn the best solutions and spread that information globally. If there’s one book published in 2022 on climate change that’s a must read, this is the one.