The United Nations climate change conference, COP28, has entered the final stretch. Negotiators are brainstorming on the future of fossil fuels. According to Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, “the success of COP28 will depend on leaders calling for a just and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels without exceptions and distractions.” European Union climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra has promised a big push on the issue.
Policymakers have failed to recognise the role of climate, forest and biodiversity in ensuring the welfare of people through sustainable development. This is obvious as the trajectory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, led by fossil fuel production, is on the upswing despite the governments’ efforts to fulfil commitments to achieve net-zero emissions.
Recent developments in the Indian aviation sector are cause for concern, as the industry has virtually turned into a duopoly market. IndiGo and Air India have proven to be established players, while newer airlines have all but exited the aviation market owing to predatory pricing of flight tickets. The emerging duopoly market between IndiGo and Air India has meant the highest surge in airfare, which is a concern for air travellers.
The Union Budget 2023-24 is expected to be a barometer for the Central Government’s policy commitments toward the conservation of the environment and sustainable development. The public policy challenge for the government is how to strike a balance between economic growth and sustainable development, which are at variance due to the onslaught of climate change and its increasing economic costs. On the one hand, the government wants to achieve a $ 5 trillion economy by 2025 and $26 trillion by 2047; on the other, it has set a target of net-zero emissions by 2070. A balanced Budget that intertwines economic growth with inclusive and sustainable development for restoring the ecosystems is needed.