Stress on local action to mitigate the effects of climate change

Safeguarding livelihoods of the affected poor important: N. Ram

CHENNAI: Climate change and the problems associated with it need to be tackled on a global scale but local actions to mitigate its effects are also required, speakers at a symposium said here on Thursday.

SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES: (From left) Jurgen Porst of the Indo-German Technical Co-operation; C.N. Raghavendran, chairman, CII LEED India; N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu; A. Ramachandran, Director, Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, Anna University-Chennai; and Verena Schuler of BMW at a symposium in Chennai on Thursday.

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, who chaired a panel discussion on the third day of the symposium organised by the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai, said though no one was satisfied with the Copenhagen summit, it had been useful. But, there were also concerns that the developed world was trying to dilute the content of the talks, both in Copenhagen and, later, in Bonn.

The conflicting points of view discussed at these meetings were a “good thing,” but they would not bode well for the developing nations unless they showed some “backbone” and unity.

Mr. Ram said that it was also important to take into consideration the safeguarding of livelihoods of the poor who were affected by climate change as the official establishment tended to forget them sometimes.

A. Ramachandran, Director, Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, Anna University-Chennai, said the politics involved in global climate change talks was making it difficult to arrive at a consensus.

Instead of waiting for world leaders to come up with an effective global policy, local action towards mitigation of the effects of climate change was essential. In particular, people should focus on helping the ecosystem adapt to climate change while ensuring food security and sustainable development.

He mentioned bio-waste management, water and energy conservation and sustainable agricultural production as areas where mitigation activities could be taken up at the local level.

Jurgen Porst of the Indo-German Technical Co-operation organisation said grassroots activities in water and waste management had resulted in a positive outcome in Bangalore. There was a need to take into account the effects of the measures taken to mitigate climate change. Recycling of lead acid batteries used in place of fossil fuels in transportation and of CFLs used for lighting should also be worked out. .

Verena Schuler of Corporate Strategy and Planning, Environmental, Sustainability and Conservation, BMW, said the carmaker had been working to reduce the lifecycle carbon footprint of a car. This included efficient production of vehicles and research to produce hybrid vehicles. BMW had set the target of 25 per cent reduction (from 2008 figures) in fuel consumption of its cars by 2020.

But, she added that a successful climate change policy required co-operation from all stakeholders including scientists, politicians, the corporate sector and the general public.

C.N. Raghavendran, chairman, CII LEED India, spoke about measures taken by the Green Building Council in India to ensure that energy efficient buildings were created.

Replying to a question on the new Assembly complex, he said it was a “good start,” that a legislative building had obtained ‘gold’ certification.

The symposium was organised with the co-operation of the Centre for Environmental Studies, Anna University-Chennai and the Care Earth Trust.


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