Global warming a message from God for course correction, says Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan

Lessons taught by ancestors on conserving the environment have been forgotten and global warming “is a message from God” for course correction, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said today.


Lessons taught by ancestors on conserving the environment have been forgotten and global warming “is a message from God” for course correction, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said today. Vardhan said various international agreements on environment and climate change will not show results unless work in carried out at the ground level. He, however, lauded the international community for coming together to address the problem of global warming that threatens the world. “Our ancestors handed over to us clean rivers, rich fertile land, pure air, forest. But in the process of improving our lives, we did things that led to degradation of environment. This is why God has sent us a message under the name of global warming and climate change,” he said. Vardhan was speaking at an event organised on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.




The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. The minister also urged all stakeholders, including the industry and the consumers, to move towards more environment friendly cooling agents used in refrigerators and air- conditioners. Citing the Montreal Protocol, Vardhan said such treaties under the aegis of the United Nations have helped achieve many important milestones to conserve the environment.

The Minister also spoke of the strong policy leadership given by India during the negotiations for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Under the amendment, three different schedules have been set for countries to freeze and then reduce the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The developed countries, led by the US and Europe, will reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline. China, which is the largest producer of HFCs in the world, will reduce HFC use by 80 per cent by 2045 over the 2020-22 baseline. India will reduce the use of HFCs by 85 per cent over the 2024-26 baseline.



Of global warming and hot air


The pursuit of truth is overrated. It is merely a recreation of the well fed. People ultimately believe not in indisputable truths but in what they want to believe. That’s why global warming is exactly like god. There are believers and skeptics, both armed with evidence. Temperatures are rising, some say with a complex glee that is masqueraded as concern. “Watch ‘An Inconvenient Truth’,” they say, somehow fascinated by the bleak prospects of man. Warming is just a geological cycle, others say in the glory of questioning a primary fad of the times. “Read ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist’,” they say. Glaciers are melting, the fans of warming insist, ice is breaking. Glaciers have melted faster than they should even in 1912, others say, that’s how the Titanic sank.



There was a general warning issued to all ships around that time to look out for icebergs. Industrialisation then was insignificant by today’s standards. But the climate is obviously changing today, the fans of global warming point out, and mankind is responsible for that. Climate change is a geological fate, non-believers respond, mankind has nothing to do with it. In Ramayana, they say, there is mention of snow in the Deccan Plateau.

The skeptics, however, know deep down that there is such a thing called pollution and it must be doing something irreparable to the planet. And the prophets of global warming, their grace and goodness an inevitable consequence of wealth, are the worst polluters. In India, most people who own cars are the very people who are alarmed by global warming. They cannot live without air-conditioning and they fly frequently. And many of them are also secretly writing novels about their own relatives which, they choose to ignore, will result in the demise of thousands of trees.

There is a distinction between what we believe in and how we live. That’s not because we are frauds but because we unknowingly claim a fundamental right called hypocrisy. It is a much maligned word but it prevents socialists from going mad. Without the benevolence of hypocrisy most of us cannot believe in any ideology, cannot even love because honesty is an old foe of love. (The party drug Ecstasy is believed to make people honest during the stupor and therefore some call it, ‘divorce drug’.) Hypocrisy is the medium through which the fantasy of belief is beamed in our minds. How else can animal-loving girls murder cockroaches.


The shallowness of faith is most evident in issues to which men and women react differently, both of course claiming that they are right. Like, for instance, when the story that fashion designer Anand Jon was a serial rapist broke. The facts were, and still are, meager. But instinctively, most women believed he was a rapist and expressed self-righteous disgust. Most men believed the rape charge was the revenge of old flames whom he had seduced through acceptable sporting ways. People always choose the facts that make them feel better.


Everybody claims to be rational. Yet, spoon-bending is an industry. Men who claim to bend steel cutlery and keys with their mind, or read minds, are invited by large corporations for orientation programmes that are usually titled, ‘Explore the full potential of the human mind’. CEOs stand on the podium endorsing the mind’s ability to mangle spoons. There are many people who believe that such a parnormal phenomenon is possible.


But rationalists point out that almost every person who has ever claimed to have bent spoons with his mind, including the craft’s most famous proponent Uri Geller, has also been something of a magician once. So, there is an obvious connection between magic and spoon-bending. Also, magicians who do not claim supernatural abilities perform far more astonishing feats than bending spoons. But those who want to believe in the vandalistic power of the mind are incurable. Because belief in the extra-ordinary is more entertaining than the grimness of physics. Even agnostics say with a philosophical gaze of incomprehension, “I don’t believe in god but I believe in a force.”

Some beliefs have become so popular that they are regarded as truth. The virtues of democracy, for instance. Most of us believe in democracy. Yet we spend most of our lives in corporates, which are dictatorships. And the rest of the time in a benign dictatorship called home.

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