Pollution is undeniable problem in many of India’s metropolitan centers. In the capital of New Delhi, smog has been known to reduce visibility to less than 600 yards. But the connection to between air pollution and climate change is not on the minds of most Indians.
One of the greatest challenges to global climate change action may be a lack of education about greenhouse gasses and their affect on the environment. According to a 2007-2008 Gallup survey, awareness of climate change is strikingly low in China and India – two of the world’s top greenhouse emitters.
India is an especially egregious case; only 5% of poll respondents considered climate change to be a ‘major threat.’ Awareness is especially low in rural areas, where education is infamously poor.
The Indian government will likely continue to snub the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat in the absence of any widespread civil society push toward climate mitigation. This, however, would require a massive educational campaign, one that would be especially challenging problem in a country with such high poverty and low literacy rates.
By Mary Tharin