The Takshashila Institution hosts climate change scholar Prof Tim Flannery

The Takshashila Institution together with the Australian Consulate General (Chennai) hosted well-known climate change scholar Prof Tim Flannery at the Takshashila office on Monday,November 12 2019 to discuss the public policy response to climate change.

The roundtable was attended by representatives from civil society organizations, business and scholars from Takshashila.

Prof Flannery highlighted that the world is entering the end of the critical decade, but  still in the stage of emission growth, rather than cutting on emissions. He further mentioned that the estimated rise in sea levels is now at 2 metres for the next century, much higher than previous estimates.

In light of these growing problems, he suggested that solving problems precipitated by climate change will take more than just emission cuts. As a policy solution, he suggested two major steps that are required to be taken in order to combat climate change. 

  1. We must pursue to cut emissions to negative levels. 
  2. We must remove some of the CO2 present in the atmosphere. 

Furthermore, he pointed to the importance of using geoengineering techniques such as spraying sulphur in order to reduce the melting of the polar ice caps.

Focusing more specifically on India, Prof Flannery said that severe heat waves, water shortages and crop deaths will be the direct result of climate change. However, on a positive note, he mentioned that solar power in India is now less expensive than coal-fired power.

Pointing to possible solutions, Prof Flannery said that the electrification of transport is an absolute must, required to improve the quality of air, while at the same time improving scientific capacity to understand the issues of climate change in a better manner.

The end of Prof Flannery’s remarks were followed by an open discussion, where the issues of the efforts made to raise awareness and mobilise youth on climate change, particularly on social media platforms like Instagram, were brought up. 

During the discussions, Nitin Pai, co-founder and Director of the Takshashila Institution, stated that the capacity to solve problems such as climate change is highly dependent on the per capita income of the country. He further stated the challenge for India is to bring its 200-300 million people out of poverty without generating large environmental footprint.

Issues related to the pricing of resources such as water, challenges of generating adequate climate finance and the need to create large-scale societal awareness to combat climate change were also discussed. The close linkage between climate change and its effects on food security, especially in the Indian context,  were highlighted.

The discussion ended with closing remarks given by Prof Flannery, where he said,”The world needs a vision for solving climate change, and such a vision can do a lot.”

The Takshashila Institution is an independent centre for research and education in public policy. It is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation that advocates the values of freedom, openness, tolerance, pluralism and responsible citizenship. It seeks to transform India through better public policies, bridging the governance gap by developing better public servants, civil society leaders, professionals and informed citizens.

Takshashila creates change by connecting good people, to good ideas and good networks. It produces independent policy research in a number of areas of governance, it grooms civic leaders through its online education programmes and engages in public discourse through its publications and digital media.

For media queries, write to Asawari Ghatage at asawari@takshashila.org.in