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The Hindu Editorial

6-December-2023

1. Major world economies seem unwilling to move away from fossil fuel

Topic: GS3 – climate action.

Global Climate Goals:

  • The current boundary for discussions on global climate is set at 1.5°C, representing the average increase in global temperatures since pre-industrial times.
  • The ongoing climate summit in Dubai aims to cap the temperature rise at the half-degree mark, as the world has already surpassed the 1°C increase.

Insufficient Emission Reduction Pledges:

  • Global pledges to reduce emissions fall short of the required measures to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C.
  • Estimates indicate that achieving the 1.5°C goal necessitates three times more renewable energy capacity by 2030, equivalent to at least 11,000 GW.

Global Consensus and New Delhi LeadersDeclaration:

  • The need for tripling renewable energy capacity to meet climate goals was formally acknowledged in the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration at the G-20 summit in September.
  • As of now, 118 countries have endorsed the pledge, but two major players, India and China, have abstained from signing.

Indias Stance and Red Lines:

  • India, despite positioning itself as a champion for renewable energy, has abstained from endorsing the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge.
  • India emphasizes its commitment to tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 but is reluctant to commit to a “phase down of unabated coal power,” a major red line for the country.

Coal Dependency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • Coal-fired plants account for almost 70% of India’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India argues that it cannot be compelled to abandon certain fuels, emphasizing its need for a diversified energy mix.

International Commitments and U.S. Perspective:

  • The United States, along with 56 other countries, committed to completely abandoning coal for energy use by 2035.
  • The U.S., drawing about 20% of its energy from coal, has plans to increase oil and gas production in 2030, showcasing a paradox in major economies’ commitment to renewable energy.

Need for Genuine Commitment:

  • The global commitment to renewable energy needs to include an honest dedication to replacing existing and future fossil fuel capacity with clean energy.
  • Mere pledges and declarations hold little value without concrete plans to actively replace fossil fuel usage with renewable alternatives.

Question: What are the key challenges and considerations for India in endorsing the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, given its commitment to tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 and the significant role of coal-fired plants in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions?

2. The Ambedkar touch in rethinking social justice policies.

Topic: GS2. 

Challenges to Social Harmony and Reforms:

  • Modern democracy aims for social harmony and reforms to ensure dignity and self-respect, especially for historically deprived and marginalized groups.
  • Democratic institutions are expected to engage with the worst-off social groups and ensure their substantive participation in political affairs.

Ambedkar’s Vision and Contemporary Realities:

  • Babasaheb Ambedkar envisioned post-colonial India as distinct from its exploitative past, inviting equal participation of Dalits and marginalized communities in economic and political development.
  • Despite India’s commitment to tripling renewable energy capacity and social justice policies, neo-liberal economic development has derailed traditional support for socially marginalized groups.

Tokenistic Presence and Dominance of Social Elites:

  • Social elites dominate as powerful authorities, national leaders, and influencers, while socially marginalized groups have a tokenistic presence in positions of power.
  • Despite political commitments to social justice policies, significant participation of worst-off social groups in power remains elusive.

Role of Neo-liberal Economy and Ambedkar’s Principles:

  • Neo-liberal economic development neglects concerns of Dalits and Adivasis, contradicting B.R. Ambedkar’s principles of social justice.
  • Ambedkar’s approach emphasizes ethical corrective measures to make institutions more democratic, representative, and responsible towards diverse populations.

Market Economy’s Distancing from Ethical Values:

  • The neo-liberal market celebrates exclusive control by corporate bodies and neglects social responsibilities.
  • Ambedkar’s principles advocate for a more responsible market enterprise, closer to moral sensibilities and accountable to diverse populations.

Reimagining Social Justice Policies:

  • Social justice policies need expansion into the private economy, democratizing working classes and reducing poverty.
  • Integration of social justice policies into the market economy can elevate Dalits and Adivasis as influential contributors and upholders of capitalist assets.

Empowering Dalits and Adivasis in the Market Economy:

  • New social justice policies should ensure Dalits and Adivasis become leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers in the economic sphere.
  • Affirmative action policies are needed to democratize big businesses, enabling the emergence of Dalit-Adivasi leaders in urbanization, industrial production, and technological innovations.

State’s Role and Ambedkar’s Vision:

  • Ambedkar viewed the modern state as a transformative force for Dalit and Adivasi emancipation.
  • In the neo-liberal realm, the state has become a passive associate of big business, deviating from its social responsibilities.

Redefining Capitalism and Pluralist Economic Order:

  • Ambedkar’s version of social justice can redefine capitalism as a pluralist and cooperative economic order.
  • Ensuring substantive participation of Dalits and Adivasis in the market economy and associated institutions is crucial for a more inclusive and equitable society.

Question: How does neo-liberalism affect the participation of Dalits and Adivasis in the market economy, and what measures, in line with Ambedkar’s social justice principles, can ensure their inclusive integration?

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