Tackle climate change at local level: Mike Hulme

Delivering the first Jeremy Grantham lecture on Climate Change, organised by the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science on Monday, Prof Hulme stated that the negotiation bar had been raised too far to be met at the climate change summits and it was necessary to look for ‘backdoor or sideways routes that does not require a mega deal to solve the problem.’

 He spoke about the need to use an existing mechanism that is working well and work on it. “We can explore different opportunities and learn how big cities across the world can save on carbon emissions and learn from their shared experiences instead of waiting for an utopian agreement,” he said.

Hulme said he was optimistic of solutions at a local level for emergence of multiple initiatives. “Some of them will fail, some will have an adverse impact, but some will be successful” he opined.

Expounding on the five different contexts or frames that climate change was referred to, namely as a market failure, as a technological hazard, as global injustice, as overconsumption and as a planetary tipping point, he said that it was important to understand the different voices and there was no singular way to see the problem.

He once again rebutted UN’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairman R K Pachauri’s statement that ‘the road to Copenhagen (Climate Change Summit in December) must be based on the science of climate change and not political aspects,’ Hulme countered that science could never reconcile or resolve the different frames as it meant different things to different people.  Quoting Nobel  Laureate Amartya Sen, he said that it was important to allow pluralism rather than suppress voices to achieve a universal voice.

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