ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Climate Change: Analysis without Data

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The West Indian policymaker, Avinash D Persaud, is a thoughtful civil servant. He has, in his HT Parekh Finance Column (“Climate Change Is Uninsurable, So, What Should We Do?” EPW, 15 February 2020), raised the question of insurance strategies for climate change, in the context of inadequate data. We know that climate change is there and that it is affecting our life. But, for policy, you have to go further. Policy cannot be built only on beliefs, since concrete action is to be taken. How do we square the circle? India is important in what it does. But, the case of the United States (US) withdrawing from the Paris Agreement shows how important other actors are.

The issue of climate change is important, and India, which is now marginal in the global debates, will again have to be in the centre as earlier. The facts are unclear in magnitudes. How do we factor in uncertainty in decisions that are important, as Persaud says? Its importance is out of the question. Rains and floods in October, when the withdrawal date is mid-September, is much too chastening. A friend told me that the MET wallahs say it is not non-normal. The estimated variation in kharif rainfall includes these events. The probability of a repeated delay in the monsoon, year after year, is low to the point of being a Black Swan event. The later deluge to cross the “average” makes it more so. So, let us not paper over the losses and the hundreds of dead.

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Updated On : 20th Dec, 2020

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