Home Commentaries & Articles Earth Day Summit 2021 Emphasises the Need to Transform the Planet

Earth Day Summit 2021 Emphasises the Need to Transform the Planet

The world is going through a difficult time as countries all over struggle to fight the coronavirus. Experts from different nations have been highlighting the need to focus on unconventional dangers to the world like climate, environment, water scarcity and so on. As an extension of the same approach, the President of the United States Joe Biden convened a virtual summit on 22-23rd April 2021. World leaders from more than 40 countries participated in the event.

The meet covered issues ranging from climate change, overpopulation, food wastage, regenerative agriculture, air quality etc. The aim was to touch upon the maximum possible areas to improve the general living quality. There was a general acceptance of the urgent need to address environmental issues to ensure that a broad framework could be evolved to take measures to preserve and promote environment friendly initiatives in different sectors. According to the United National Climate Change wing, the main goal of the summit was to “galvanise efforts by the world’s major economies to keep the vital Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius within reach”. The participants included big economies as well as those who will looking forward to share the challenges they were facing due to climate changes and environmental hazards.

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres very rightly said “Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Let’s remind more than ever on this International Mother Earth Day that we need a shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet”. This statement highlights the urgency to redress the damages done in the past in the race to industrialise and modernise. He clearly emphasised that the “ we need a green planet, the world is on red alert”.

The whole affair could be summarised as an endeavour to collaborate towards a better and greener planet. There were proposals that urged the big countries to help the vulnerable ones, by means of financial assistance to balance the process of sustainable development keeping the environmental consequences in mind. US President Biden urged the countries to keep the momentum of the efforts steady for the COP26 negotiations to be held in Glasgow in November 2021. He said that the US would work towards cutting down the Carbon Dioxide emissions by 50-52%. Canada, Japan and Brazil too came forward and supported the cause of carbon neutrality. The US also submitted their plan that aims at doubling their climate finance which was for developing countries. All the major emitters of the world were asked to submit their plan of reduction to keep a process and structure in mind.

A new coalition was announced to protect the Tropical Forests of the world. This included governments and companies from different countries who came together for a LEAF Coalition to achieve the same.

Another initiative announced was done by the US President Biden for strengthening the “Clean Cooking Alliance” that educates and supports countries to develop methods for clean cooking that results in environment friendly ways and healthy options. This eventually catalyses the cost cut which is otherwise spent on health concerns, damages and struggles of local economies.

All these together covered the different aspects of nature. The aim of this summit was to come together to achieve a healthier world. However, despite the thoughtful initiatives, there are certain challenges that act as hurdles in the process. The first one is the presence of inactive actors in this process. While some think of such initiatives as political ways of discouraging other countries from developing; there are others who refute the argument of the possibility of a misbalanced development leading to environmental hazards. Another challenge is that this summit was an American hosted meet. Thus, states like Iran, North Korea etc refrained from accepting any such norms. The problem lies in reaching out to such countries. The third major challenge is a related one. The political dynamics that exists today and the complexities within have led to the formation of at least two groups – China and its allies and the US with its support group. However, climate change requires a collaboration from all the countries , overlooking political, ideological and internal differences. It is time to use the technology to uplift the environment to make sure that the future generations live a healthier life.

The world today is fighting the COVID 19 together. The virus has brought into picture the importance of interdependence and co-existence in today’s scenario. Thus, it is even more necessary to follow up on the decisions and proposals discussed at the Summit. The world leaders committed to the cause and the scenario does look optimistic.

The UN Secretary General Guterres requested the international community to make this a “decade of transformation”. It is time, that leaders, people and everyone across understand it and the value the nature, human life and health more than weapons, industries and technology.