On the Discourse of Climate Change

The science of climate change is more than simple. The idea is, incarnate it, and you will find it rather to be more than simpleton. We, yes, the global inhabitants have an integrated grinning face of the emptiness of a simpleton, so has the science of climate change. At the moment science itself has started working for the ugliest content of capitalism, the more the carbon di-oxide it has started giving to the environment, the more it has turned out to be an intelligent moron. And since then, more warmer is the sensation. Repeating of the discredited myth the people always tend to do about climate change is that, behold, the daemon is hailing. You will burn oil, coal and gas, more is the carbon mixes with the air giving a different texture, thus a poisonous palate to the environment. Thus we have come through a long path of understanding of what climate change is. Now that the global phenomena is mostly dealt with this bargaining issue with a simple question: ‘Who has the beacon at hand?’ the faculty of respective class working with climate change issue like the policy delegates, the scientists, the activists etc. are to be investigated if they are to fight in a right way.

Being a natural variable, climate change is not only the change of temperature of the earth’s surface due to the functions of the sun, but also due to many human activities. This change causes the ice to be melted down and others so many short and long-term effects on earth. Once a region buried under the ice, say about 20,000 years before having the roaming mammoths is now shivering with the millions of footsteps of the ‘victorious’ human being. The natural causes are inevitable and uncontrollable at the same time. The very recent concern of the climate change is global warming mostly which is focused on the causes made by the human being. The fingerprint of human activities are the most dangerous concern. Human can invent atomic weapons to destroy the human civilization itself. And so is also done in the name of industrial revolution through burning fossil fuels, thus destroying the environment with the same pace. And it is happening at the fingertip of the daemons of technology switch, sometimes looks like it has anathematized the whole civilization for we think it is possible to shuffle our luck through the black magic of many unknown scientific experiments, and then we claim that we are a must to do it. Hey, it’s a part of life, again we claim.

Looks like it’s a sort of layman’s talking. Apart from it, what are appearing to us as a form of sophistication claimed to be generated from the so called highly developed society – the global intellectual body? It demands a brief explanation because it is claimed that the human has got a cultural evolution from barbarism, so is the faculty of thinking. We claim that we have to be justified to the environment. This may be only ethically proven when it is to be measured how these ‘evoluted’ human society interacted with the nature. I am of course talking about the western intellectual society who are the most active in climate change issue, at least explicitly, in view. Is the consequence of the climate change inevitable as it is claimed that its scientific status is a kind of unquestioned? I am not defending its scientific credentials of course, then what makes me get involved into finding the validity of this globally recognized slogan? It gives me the moral ground as well as ethical impression for justifying the matter for it has already turned into a global political phenomena. There are suspicions, for we have the space to ask ourselves if it is really possible to heat up the ‘huge’ planet with ruse wit of human being.     

For example, many see adjusting the world’s climate change coupled with energy issues with a more extensive alternative mix as a basic component of limiting the effect of environmental changes that human’s action can do. The change to greener energy sources is impossible by giving a flick of a switch, rather is an energy transition process that is as of now in progress all over the world in different level for different regions. Environmental change though transitional in terms of carbon footprint from fossil-based fuel usage in a country like Bhutan as of now is not that big, but a very big concern, not only just on account of the future expanding greenhouse gas emission for the implementation of the policy regarding the expansion of industrial development that may cause global warming but also due to the fact that the nation so far has vigorously influenced by outrageous climate change. ‘Expansion!’ Paris Agreement (COP 21) will give left hand with the pledge once again – in the NDCs (nationally determined contributions), countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the agreement. Who don’t know that the so called developed nations have already reached to the saturation of producing carbon, and they will intellectually utter with, ‘enough is enough, let’s make it a down now!’ slogan in building long-term temperature goal. The aim, so clean, is to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century. The question is again very much relevant here that, some day will we see that, this carbon negative country will denominate those upcoming causes as nothing, and will pretend that ‘everything is just fine!’. Who is who?

In practical, Bhutan can’t possibly abandon fossil fuels overnight (apart from electricity generation which are just done through abundant hydroelectric source. Other than this, the country has incorporated fossil-based fuels in multitudes of usage.), no nation can in fact do it, and the energy transition in Bhutan won’t mean only concentrating the concept of eradicating fossil fuel usage. Though the country currently is not accountable for fossil-fuel based energy generation, yet it will be really a hard job for her to work within global framework that will be meant for the mitigation of global carbon emission and thereby climate change. And this process at this moment cannot be termed as sustainable or just. This is in fact not the time for this country, rather this is because of many issues like readiness, affordability, low energy services etc. for energy transition toward low-carbon economy in a less developed nation (A nation being developed is a vague and incomplete term to this author. Developed country in terms of industrial and thus economic development is meant here) like Bhutan should be working for human development and ensuring moderate economic benefits through some sort of sustainable industrial growth. This sort of industry will possibly mean that it will create less nuisance to the nature that will conceivably progress in pursuit of the objectives of the effect of climate change. In order to do that, there should be multiple climate change models to be dealt with that will be deeply associated with the protection of the citizen’s rights through energy and education sector reform, strategic development imperatives and good governance. The latest one is prevailing in the country in many ways. Bhutan’s climate change policy and implementation, or any other regions, is to be defined in regional context. The IPCC’s definition, ‘the climate change may be global in extent, but its manifestations are regional and local in their occurrences, character, and implications.’ can be easily understood by the information retrieved from the respective government policy. This will need to find alternative methodologies for dealing with carbon footprint like carbon sequester or carbon usage etc. in a way that the decisions to be taken should be on the basis of climate change science play out on an range of scales, and the relevance and limitations of information on both biophysical impacts and social vulnerability, as IPCC delegates. The policy will need to include adaptation and mitigation mechanisms to actual or expected future climates, the aim of which is to reduce the vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change (rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, food insecurity, etc.). A good understanding of the decision-making policy contexts, though in many ways uncertain, is thus essential to define the type and resolution and characteristics of information on climate change-related risks required physical climate science and impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability assessment.

Based on the most prominent uncertainties in climate change, sometimes puzzling though, it can be examined both qualitatively and quantitatively of how the policy decisions can be made for a country like Bhutan. In order to do that, factors like climate feedback, global climate models, carbon cycle, etc. are considered to be dominating in the field of scientific analysis and policy debates. A continued investment to scientific research relating to renewable energy, energy transition policy, and other disciplines of science related to climate change. The reason is, in today’s era policy making in any government sector may become very much uncertain without proper scientific analysis. In order for the ease of this kind of research, more academic functionalities will be given priority through giving the direct control over the body of intellectuals. It has to be noted that, climate change is not just a lump sum social science discussion, rather it is a completely natural science and engineering concern. The issue is mostly quantitative, and its policy will also be based on the scientific, economic and engineering analysis. Mostly it is seen that the political and legal bodies are well concerned about the issue, but without the evidential information retrieved from proper quantitative research. Verily, the perceptions grown on some incomplete and inconsistent studies may have a chance that these can’t help constitute a succinct policy options.            

Contributed by: Khandaker D Islam

He is an assistant professor at Sherubtse College in Kanglung