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Opinion: Pandemic Or Climate Change, Government Has Crucial Role To Play

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Opinion: Pandemic Or Climate Change, Government Has Crucial Role To Play


It’s an oft-repeated warning that poor countries will suffer more from climate change than rich countries. Most developing economies are more dependent on weather-linked sectors, such as agriculture, while having fewer resources to adapt to a warming world.

There is one factor that can help mitigate some of those limitations: good governance. We’ve seen how much of a difference it can make in the fight against Covid-19. One of the starkest examples is the tragedy unfolding in India right now.

I grew up in Maharashtra, which is one of the Indian states worst affected, and most of my family is still there. That’s made the last few weeks very hard. Every other day, there’s some grim news of a family friend or a relative falling victim to Covid-19 and no one can be sure how much devastation the current wave of infections will leave behind.

But a few things are already clear. The Indian government did not act on advice that its own scientific team provided in early March, according to a Reuters investigation. Instead the Bhartiya Janata Party, represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, organized political rallies in the state of West Bengal. It also allowed millions of Hindus to attend the weekslong Kumbh Mela religious festival. Even today, as countries from around the world have sent life-saving equipment and medicine, much of it appears to be sitting in the airport in New Delhi waiting to be distributed.

Crucially, the government did not learn the lessons of a less deadly wave of infections last year. It failed to ramp up health infrastructure, including the supply of medical oxygen, according to a Scroll.in investigation. The result is that many people who could have recovered from the infection are unable to do so.

While limited resources and poor infrastructure are crippling India’s response at the peak of infections, better governance could have helped the country avoid the dire situation in the first place. “An individual can only go so far to protect themselves from something like Covid. People actually need to be supported by an enabling state,” says Rebecca Willis, a professor at the Lancaster Environment Centre. “The same is true for climate.”

The question of how much government intervention is needed frequently arises when it comes to tackling climate change. In some ways, the anti-lockdown and anti-masks protests are a variation on the same divide. “The big government/small government argument has been weaponized in politics, but it’s not very meaningful,” says Willis. Instead what you need is effective government or, as University College London economist Mariana Mazzucato puts it, mission-oriented government.

Thailand, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Malaysia are low- or middle-income countries that rank among the top 20 in Lowy Institute’s Covid Performance Index. Vietnam, China, Thailand and Malaysia feature among the top 20 countries in Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking. Countries like Thailand and Malaysia, which are ranked close to India on The Economist’s Democracy Index, have managed the pandemic better. On the flipside, rich countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. recorded some of the worst death rates under poor leadership.

Covid-19 and climate change are different beasts. With the pandemic, governments have had to step in to impose immediate restrictions and provide financial help. It’s a big intervention on a short timescale. When it comes to global warming, governments will need to ensure that laws and incentives are in place that will enable people and companies to cut emissions over decades. That’s a smaller intervention over a longer timescale.

In both cases, however, money alone isn’t enough. What matters more is how systems are put in place, preparation against obvious risks are made, and how effective governments are at convincing their populace to respond.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Maximum Temperature In Delhi Likely To Be 41 Degrees

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Maximum Temperature In Delhi Likely To Be 41 Degrees


Maximum Temperature In Delhi Likely To Be 41 Degrees

Delhi weather: The air quality in Delhi was recorded in the “moderate” category.

New Delhi:

The national capital recorded a minimum temperature of 21.7 degrees Celsius, five notches below the season’s average, on Sunday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The maximum temperature is expected to settle around 41 degrees Celsius, it said.

The relative humidity was recorded 53 per cent and a partly cloudy sky has been predicted during the day.

The air quality in Delhi was recorded in the “moderate” category. The air quality index (AQI) was 165 at 8.05 am, real-time data of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

The maximum and minimum temperature on Saturday were 39.3 degrees Celsius and 23 degrees Celsius, respectively. 



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Coronavirus: India records 3,11,170 new cases, 4,077 deaths in a day

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Coronavirus: India records 3,11,170 new cases, 4,077 deaths in a day



9.36 am: India registers 3,11,170 new coronavirus cases today, pushing the country’s tally of infections since the pandemic began to 2,46,84,077. The toll rises by 4,077 to 2,70,284. The number of active cases stand at 36,18,458, while the recoveries climb to 2,07,95,335.



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Jammu and Kashmir: 21 arrested for holding pro-Palestine rallies

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Jammu and Kashmir: 21 arrested for holding pro-Palestine rallies



The police in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday arrested 21 people for expressing solidarity with Palestinians and holding protests against Israel’s military actions in Gaza, The Hindu reported.

The police called the demonstrations an attempt “to engineer and incite violence on streets” of the Valley. Inspector General Vijay Kumar told The Hindu that 20 people were booked in Srinagar and one was held in Shopian.

The crackdown came a day after protests were held in Srinagar’s Padshahi Bagh and Safa Kadal areas, where a small group burnt an Israeli flag and drew graffiti in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem. The families of those detained alleged that the police conducted midnight raids against the protestors, according to The Hindu.

Among those arrested included Kashmir-based artist Mudasir Gul, who was held for painting pro-Palestinian graffiti on a bridge in Srinagar on Friday. The artwork showed a woman wearing a scarf made of a Palestinian flag and a tear tricking from her eye, with the words: “WE ARE PALESTINE.” The graffiti was later painted over by police, according to The Kashmir Walla.

Besides Gul, a Muslim cleric, Sarjan Barkati, was was taken into preventive custody on Friday for violating Covid-19 lockdown. However, unidentified officials told The Print the preacher’s detention came after a video of him extending support to Palestine surfaced on social media.

The Hindu reported that Barkati had “addressed people during Id [Eid] prayers” and “prayed for Palestine”.

The police in a statement said they were keeping a “close watch on elements who are attempting to leverage the unfortunate situation in Palestine to disturb public peace and order” in Kashmir. The statement said police were “sensitive to public anguish” but wouldn’t allow its “cynical encashment” to “trigger violence, lawlessness and disorder”.

“All irresponsible social media comments that result in actual violence and breaking of law including COVID-19 protocol will attract legal action,” the police added.

Israel’s actions in Palestine

At least 139 people, including several children, have been killed in Gaza since Israeli attacks began earlier this week, the AP reported. Israeli military said the airstrikes were in retaliation for the Palestinian militant group Hamas firing rockets into Israel, but experts have pointed out that the escalation was a result of Tel Aviv’s own actions in Sheikh Jarrah.

At the heart of the conflict is an Israeli Supreme Court hearing, which was due on May 10, in a long-running legal case about whether several Palestinian families would be evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood near Damascus Gate that was given to Israeli settlers.

As the court hearing neared, Palestinians and Left-wing Israelis began holding larger demonstrations, saying more evictions could cause a domino effect throughout the overwhelmingly Palestinian neighbourhood.

Tensions escalated when Israeli security forces firing rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at worshipers gathered at Al-Aqsa mosque on May 7. On May 15, the country’s military demolished a high-rise building in Gaza housing the offices of Al Jazeera and the AP.

Multiple countries have condemned the violence. India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said New Delhi was deeply concerned about the clashes and violence in Haram Al Sharif and Temple Mount and the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods. India has called on both sides to avoid changing the status-quo on the ground.





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