Is that elephant really blocking the train? Why? (India and Paris talk on climate change)

Singapore based, 51 years old, cartoonist, Heng Kim Song is famous for his political cartoons but adversely in India from last year due to his cartoon in last year on India’s Mars mission for what the New York Times already apologized. Heng replied that he was complimenting India’s achievement. Means he was just showing that to go for mars mission is no longer the exclusive domain of western countries. Heng said that he would have never done something just to be provocative and his cartoons aimed to help people think about issues through what he hoped are an effective use of humor.

This time again the NYT going to create controversy by publishing cartoon of Heng in which India is mocked for climate change summit. The shows that the India (elephant) is sitting on that railway track just in front of train of Paris climate change summit. The meaning of this cartoon anyone can easily get is to make India responsible for the failure of this summit or barrier for the summit goals and objectives. Before summit, John Kerry, US Secretory of State said that India would be challenge for the summit.

Tomorrow Heng or the NYT may apologize again due to possible uproar over this cartoon by putting one more meaning of that cartoon in front of readers such as elephant is pulling the climate change train and and that’s why get tired.

But in that case too, it is necessary to see why that elephant is on track blocking that way.

Industrialization is started from western countries from last 150 years and from that time these countries are emitting huge quantity of carbon dioxide in atmosphere. India is newly industrialized countries just trying to come out from its identity of developing country and to be a developed nation. Though India is in fourth place, India’s role in global carbon emission is just approximately 3 to 4 %. India is second largest population in the world but its per capita CO2 emission rate is 1.7 tons while America/ USA is responsible for 17 tons means ten times more than India. This is horrible that, in such situation few people are expecting that the elephant should run. In case of China world’s largest population emits 6.7 tons CO2 per capita. This is also too big compare to India.

‘Eating to live or living to eat’. Why to use the same parameters for both groups of countries? Western countries are emitting carbon for better life than current life which is already too much better than India and other developing countries which are just trying to keep their people alive. In India, thousands of farmers suicides every year just due impact of fluctuation in weather on their climate based agriculture and government is not strong enough to provide them technology to fight and overcome from such problems. Second hand, the quality of life of American and western country people is impossible to compare with India or other developing countries which are facing problems of climate change not due to their emissions but due to emissions of developed countries which emits huge carbon at their developing stage.

Even though India wants to do something to solve this issue, India has no better options for energy. Coal is most promising way for India. About nuclear energy, it will take long time to establish and indirectly it is also responsible for environmental damage by destroying the phytoplankton which plays important role in oxygen generation. Tidal, hydro, wind are not effective way in case of India due to many limitations and in case of these sources and solar on which government is currently focusing, western developed countries should provide the technology first to India and other developing countries and then make expectation from the elephant to run and start the train of Paris climate summit.

By Kapilkumar Nivrutti Ingle

About the Author
Kapilkumar is an Indian research fellow at Tel Aviv University. His academic background is of environmental science. He studied journalism at Pune University, India and completed his intern at Lokmat newspaper, one of the leading newspapers in Maharashtra state of India. Kapilkumar is interested in addressing the challenges relating to climate change by using the fields of journalism and environment together.
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