Mains Q & A 20 January 2023
Q1. India’s aim to becoming “Net-Zero” in terms of climate change offers both opportunities and challenges. Comment (250 Words)
Paper & Topic: GS III Environmental Conservation
The next COP26 climate deal negotiation is essential to keeping global warming within the upper limit of 1.5-2 degrees Celsius outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement given the severity of the climate change phenomena unfolding throughout the world. India declared that as part of a five-point action plan that includes cutting emissions to 50% by 2030, it will become carbon neutral by 2070. If poorly handled, it could, nevertheless, have negative effect on the Indian economy and, most importantly, the creation of jobs.
It might send a strong message about India’s aspirations and offer improved access to global markets, money, and technology.
60 percent of India’s capital stock, which includes the industries and structures that will be in use in 2040, is thought to still be under construction.
Instead of being encumbered with “re-fitting” requirements, the nation might perhaps advance faster towards new green technology.
India might develop a more responsible and sustainable economy if it can now make the shift to green growth.
If India’s exports receive a “green stamp,” they might have easier access to markets, especially if there is a carbon levy on goods exported from countries with high carbon emissions.
They increase FDI inflows and technical know-how while opening up new markets and bringing in international competition, which forces the domestic industry to become more efficient.
By 2050, it is predicted that 2-2.5 million more employment in the renewables industry would have been added, bringing the total number of employees there to over 3 million.
Risk of Inflation: Anything that takes into account the environmentally damaging cost of fossil fuels is likely to result in price increases in several industries, including logistics, chemicals, energy (more than 70% of India’s electricity was generated from coal), etc.
Effect on the petroleum industry: According to a report by the think tank Carbon Tracker, the oil and gas industry’s over USD 1 trillion in business-as-usual investments would no longer be feasible in a truly low-carbon society.
Additionally, the IMF has demanded that all subsidies for fossil fuels be eliminated. This could have an effect on India’s petroleum exports and possibly trigger a widespread unemployment crisis.
Impact on agriculture: Nearly half of India’s 1.3 billion population, or over 15% of its $2.7 trillion economy, work in agriculture. The burning of post-harvest waste and other operations, such as the production of paddy, make the agriculture sector one of the greatest GHG emitters. This might be really difficult. On the other hand, it can also present problems for food security.
Impact on the livestock industry: Since over two-thirds of Indians reside in rural areas, the nation’s agriculture and village economies are heavily dependent on the country’s large cattle population. Because of this, lowering methane emissions—which are produced by the digestive systems and manure of cows—is a difficult task.
India has less of a problem with forestry per se, but the nation was concerned about a provision in the COP26 declaration that might restrict commerce. Any trade restriction would have an impact on the future because our economy is becoming increasingly dependent on foreign trade.
Impact on rural livelihoods and job creation: As restrictions on agriculture and animal husbandry are implemented, this will affect the jobs and ultimately force rural residents into poverty.
Impact on industries: India’s industrialization has not yet achieved its pinnacle. Therefore, the cop26 suggestions could negatively affect “Make in India,” which would result in an increase in unemployment.
Actions needed from the Indian Government:
Covering up the Economic Risk of Net Zero Emissions: National treasuries and central banks should collaborate to devise a policy that strikes a balance between economic growth and sustainable development.
Explicitly integrating policies for climate mitigation in the government budget, along with those for energy, transportation, health, and education, is an important first step.
Switching to a hydrogen economy will help us reach our goal of “net-zero” emissions and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
It will also mark a significant improvement in reducing reliance on traditional fossil fuels.
Mobilizing Climate Finance: A significant campaign needs to be started to raise money for climate change, with a focus on energy efficiency, the use of biofuels, carbon sequestration, and carbon price.
reducing emissions from industry and the transportation sector: Place an emphasis on using public transit, gas-powered vehicles, biofuels, and switching to electric vehicles.
Investment by the business sector: Approximately 48% of India’s hydroelectric project capacity is currently owned by the private sector. Private investors will require a motivation to keep expanding this capacity in order for India to reach its 2030 targets.
Investment in the RE sector: All stakeholders must increase their R&D spending in order to support a five-fold increase in renewable energy capacity. Indian entities must hold IP because China, the dominant player, cannot be trusted.
India has its own breeder reactor that uses thorium and has made investments in fusion technology (India is contributing to ITER fusion project in France)
In order for utilities with surplus power to make up for the deficits of other utilities, there needs to be better coordination across the state energy boards.
Attention should also be paid to the necessity of innovative solutions like solar geoengineering. India may very well be able to contribute significantly to the aerosol-spraying operations or reflector setups required for such a collaborative undertaking. The majority of the funding, however, may need to come from wealthy nations.
Governments and multilateral institutions need to make sure that private capital is moving from the global north to the south and into the right industries. Now that the commitments have been made, this must be the main emphasis of India’s climate diplomacy.
Q2. “Emotions override rationality in every person’s decision-making process.” Observation (250 Words)
Paper & Topic: GS IV Ethics and Integrity
The process of choosing the option or plan of action that will best meet one’s needs is known as decision-making.
Many factors affect how decisions are made. These components include:
Mental biases related to culture and age
Self-confidence in one’s significance
Motivation and Emotions
In order to understand decisions made, it is essential to understand the elements that influence the decision-making process. In other words, the factors that have an impact on the process may also have an impact on the results.
Decision-Making Under the Influence of Emotions:
Emotions are created when the brain interprets the environment around us using our memories, ideas, and beliefs. Our emotions and actions are triggered by this. Every choice we make is influenced by this procedure. Making emotional decisions is common.
For instance, if you’re happy, you might want to travel through a park in the sunshine on your way home. On the other hand, if you were once terrified by a dog as a child, you might feel fear in that same sunny park and decide to take the bus. Even though both arguments can be made intellectually, you make the decision based on your current emotional state.
Different emotions have various impacts on making decisions. When you’re sad, you could be more willing to put up with circumstances that don’t work out for you, such as choosing not to apply for jobs or staying in toxic relationships. But sadness might also make you more giving. According to a study, unhappy people are more likely to approve increasing payments for welfare seekers than furious persons who lack empathy.
Emotional decision-making may also have an effect on how quickly you decide:
Impatience and rash judgement can both be products of anger.
When you’re thrilled, you could make fast decisions without considering the ramifications as you ride the wave of confidence and optimism about the future.
In contrast, if you’re terrified, you can take longer to decide since you’re being careful and unsure.
Decisions influenced by emotions may also be more sympathetic, particularly if they affect other individuals. We see this in action when people risk their own lives to save others or when we choose how to break terrible news to a friend.
While making reasonable decisions involves a multi-step procedure, choosing between possibilities. In the process of making logical decisions, logic, objectivity, and analysis take precedence over subjectivity and insight. Irrational decisions are more likely to conflict with reason. Decisions are hurriedly made without considering the outcomes.
Both emotion and reasoning have an impact on our capacity for making sensible selections. We may practise managing our reactions and enhance our decision-making when we are aware of where our emotions come from and how they affect our decisions and behaviours.
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