Leonardo Dicaprio’s ‘Before the Flood’ is a gripping documentary on climate change. Released in October 2016, it ,made the viewers feel strongly about the urgency required to deal with the issue. But at the time most in the US were unaware that they would be electing Donald Trump as their President, a leader opposed to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change.

This despite the fact that the Paris agreement which was arrived at after long deliberations was adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015. And has already been signed by 195 UNFCC members.

The world faces a dangerous moment, though the Indian media is less focused on it. On June 17, the US went back on its commitment to help reduce Global Warming. In the Paris agreement, the nations agreed to lower carbon dioxide emissions from their industrial plants and automobiles voluntarily by cutting down on use of fossil fuels like coal and petroleum and shifting to wind and solar energy.

China contributes 30% of the global emissions followed by the US which is 15%, the Indian contribution is 7% that will rise further due to industrialization and population growth.

US concerns of pulling out from the Paris agreement are mostly frivolous guided by corporate pressure. Donald Trump’s arguments against the Paris agreement are :

  • US will be contributing 3 billion US dollars, it however fails to notice that per capita spending of US is just over 9 US dollars whereas per capita spending by luxemborg is more than 90 US dollars. Moreover US is a major contributor in the CO2 emissions.

  • Reliance on fossil fuels for energy requirements to avoid black outs. However the energy requirement increases in extreme hot and col temperatures which are happening due to global warming. Blackouts may happen due to melting and tripping because of heavy loads and damage to the equipment.

  • Trump says that the regulations will cause an overall loss of 3 trillion US dollars to the economy. The experts are of the view that a marginal dip of 0.10% - 0.35% in the US GDP will occur till 2025

  • As per Donald Trump, the overall reduction in Global temperature will be miniscule. But putting a brake on ever increasing Global temperature itself will be a positive sign. If the business as usual continues, average surface temperature increase in the year 2100 will be 4.2°C and if the nations contribute, it will come down to 3.3°C.

  • US logic of huge job losses is misplaced as solar industry has already expanded 17 times faster in 2016. The job loss in certain sector get offset in job availability in the different sector.

India is vulnerable in many ways. Climate change will result in higher oceans resulting in problems to the coastal areas and erratic and volatile monsoons. Source of our fossil fuel remain the tribal belts of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa. They are being forced to give up their forest lands for the rest to get coal. Their voices are not heard. Pollution remains a major silent killer in the country with more than 12 lakh people dying every year.

US withdrawal from the Paris agreement has given India an enormous opportunity to become the world leader on our climate change.