General Studies 3:
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
General Studies 2:
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,
Australia’s devastating fire season that began in August 2019 continues unabated and caused large scale destruction particularly in New South Wales and Queensland region
Why are the wildfires unprecedented?
- Although Australia has always had bushfires, this season has been a lot worse than normal with nearly 12 million acres burned by the fires
- Very high temperatures (averaging 42O C), extended drought period(driest spring on record) and strong winds (spreads the bushfires) have converged to create disastrous fire conditions.
Is Climate Change to Blame?
- Australia is normally hot and dry in the summer, but climate change, which brings longer and more frequent periods of extreme heat, worsens these conditions and makes vegetation drier and more likely to burn.
- Australia’s bush fires will become now more frequent and more intense as climate change worsens.
Impact of Such wildfires
- Agricultural Production impacted
- Loss of Human lives
- Loss of Flora and Fauna- Loss of Biodiversity
- Leads to evacuation of communities – Temporary migration to other places
- Economic disruption
- Frequent wildfires in near future will make the region uninhabitable and thus catalysing environmental migration.
- Questions the developmental Model of the Country (Dependence on Coal Sector for its economic development which leads to GHG emissions)
- Questions the commitment of World towards battling Climate Change especially its impact now being clearly felt. This will pressurize US (which has withdrawn from the Paris deal) and other Countries to increase their Paris Deal commitments
Impact on India
- Strengthen the voices of people who argue against India’s dependence on fossil fuels like Coal & petroleum
- India’s ability to import high quality of Coal from Australia will be impacted.
- Indian investment in Australia’s coal sector will be endangered Ex: Adani Carmichael Coal mine project in Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia
- Moral Pressure on India to take up leadership of fighting climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Adoption of Cleaner technologies which emits less greenhouse gases.
- Enhancing capabilities of government authorities to face similar such incidents in the future.
- Citizen awareness about the dangerous of Climate Change and thus persuade them to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle having less carbon footprint
- Diversifying energy basket so as to reduce dependence on Coal & other fossil fuels. Instead promoting use of renewable energy like solar power.
- Developing a comprehensive Migration & Refugee Policy in the wake of increasing possibilities of environmental refugees
Connecting the dots
- Does India also have Climatic conditions similar to that in Australia which were responsible for wildfires?
Do You Know?
- Coal is Australia’s second largest export behind iron ore. In 2016-17 Australia exported 202 million tonnes of thermal coal and 177 million tonnes of metallurgical coal with a combined value of $54 billion.
- Australian coal is highly sought after around the world for its high energy content and low impurities which make it ideal for use in modern High Efficiency-Low Emission (HELE) power plants and steel mills.
- India is the fourth largest producer of Coal and second largest importer of Coal