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“Climate change, a social issue too”

Special Correspondent

Importance of factoring its effect in policy to tackle unequal growth stressed

— Photo: V. Ganesan

GREEN VENTURE: N. Murali, Managing Director,The Hindu, presenting an eco club badge to Nidhi, president, eco club, at a symposium on Global warming at M.O.P.Vaishnav College for Women in Chennai on Thursday. (From left) D. Narasimhan, Professor of Botany, Madras Christian College; P. Rajasekar, District Environmental Engineer, TNPCB, Pudukottai; and Akhila Srinivasan, chairperson, FICCI Ladies Organisation, are in the picture.

CHENNAI: Climate change is not just an environmental problem but also a social, economical and political issue, according to speakers at a seminar in Chennai on Thursday.

The developing countries, which contributed the least to the problem, had disproportionately borne the cost of the effects of the phenomenon. The poor in these nations were the worst hit. Some of the remedial measures had an adverse impact on the economically weaker sections. The seminar was organised by the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) and MOP Vaishnav College for Women.

Inaugurating the seminar, N. Murali, Managing Director of The Hindu, said the nation was particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. “We can no longer live in denial of the effects of climate change.” At a time when the country was looking forward to a double-digit growth, the threat to food security and agriculture could have a domino effect on the economy.

He highlighted the importance of factoring climate change and its effects in the policy to tackle unequal growth. This was necessary as the policymakers were recognising that the need for inclusive growth was one of the most urgent issues today, but it would be a drastic mistake not to recognise the unequal cost imposed on the weaker sections by climate change.

The only way to alleviate such problems of global magnitude, he said, was to ensure concerted and selective policy action through laws and incentives at the international level. Calling for environmentally sensible policies, he said: “We need concerted domestic policy action first.”

Mr. Murali presented a badge to Nidhi, president of the College Eco Club, to mark the inauguration of the club’s activities.

Sapling planting

D. Narasimhan, professor of botany, Madras Christian College, said though planting of saplings per se should be encouraged, the green cover’s capacity to absorb carbon emission had some limits: of the 368 billion tonnes of ca rbon emission from 1850 to 1955, only 208 billion tonnes was absorbed. This showed that the carbon emission level far exceeded the capacity of the green cover. Pointing out that people were increasingly becoming energy-dependent, he said that unless they were prepared to make lifestyle modifications, any amount of tree planting would not help much.

M.B. Nirmal, founder, EXNORA International, spoke of how people could contribute to environmental protection. A website,, had been hosted to sensitise the people. P. Rajasekar, district environmental engineer, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Pudukottai, Akhila Srinivasan, chairperson, FLO, and C.V. Geetha, vice-principal of the college, spoke.

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