Climate Diplomacy Day, Shillong
European embassies around the world celebrated the second Climate Diplomacy Day, promoting a common worldwide understanding of the need for action to mitigate climate change. In part, at Shillong Meghalaya, The Indian Youth Climate Network and the Asian Confluence presented ‘The Crisis of Civilization’ – a documentary screening followed by a discussion on the role Indian youth, especially from the North East, can play in terms of awareness raising and action taking.
It was following last year’s successful collaboration between Germany, France and the United Kingdom, with joint climate diplomacy events organized in over thirty countries. This year’s Climate Diplomacy Day was an even broader effort. The United Nations Climate Change conference CoP 21 in Paris, will be a crucial instrument in achieving the proper international framework conditions to enable an ambitious global deal on climate change for growth.
The panel discussion after the documentary screening at Shillong, highlights the importance of international partnerships in working in tandem for successful climate based projects, and emphasizing the need for ongoing climate action in a city like Shillong. Climate change concerns every one of us, at every level, affecting us increasingly directly and tangibly. It is inextricably linked with the 21st century challenges of water, food and energy resources of conflict, health and development. And, it therefore requires action from all sectors of the government, businesses, civil society and the global population in general.
The current rising populations and consumption will place pressure on the world’s resources, and without a transformation in approach it will jeopardize our chances of keeping global temperature rising below 2°C on 1990 levels and trying to avoid dangerous climate change. The effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible, collective answer, that goes beyond particular interests and behavior and is developed free of political and economic pressures. A sustainable development and climate smart urbanization are therefore crucial to avoid substantial costs and climate impacts in the future.
The challenges for trying to identify collectively the structural and technological changes in the global economy combined with opportunities to improve economic efficiency can make it possible to achieve both better growth and climate outcome. In today’s global economy, future growth is interlinked with continuation of past trends. As population growth and urbanization continue, global output is likely to increase by half or more.
Societies have to choose to grow and accept rising climate risk, or reduce climate risk and accept the challenges of changing structures of global production and trade, demographic changes and technological advances which will alter countries’ growth paths. They will make the future different from the past if the shift to a lower carbon future brings demographic economic and technological changes. The CoP 21 in Paris, is hoping to see the next fifteen years as some major structural transformations in the global economy. The kind of structural changes that occur depends on the path societies choose. The investment that can reinforce the foundation for low carbon growth.
In Shillong, the Climate Diplomacy Day panel discussion suggested there are possibilities the low-carbon growth path can lead to alternative pathway to prosperity for greater energy security, to cleaner air and improved health. The aim is to find solutions to coordinate cities instead of continuing with unmanaged sprawl urbanization, restoring degraded land and making agriculture more productive rather than continuing deforestation and scaling up renewable energy sources rather than continued dependence on fossil fuels. It is finding alternative pathways of growth that highlight climate risk, and a solution for reducing it.
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