India to climate envoy Kerry – Climate Change

India to climate envoy Kerry: US. special presidential envoy on climate change John Kerry’s recent two day visit to India was focused on making the countries prepare for a big summit on climate change which will involve 40 countries. This visit included 3 countries UAE, India and Bangladesh Recently U.S. re-entered into U.N. Paris agreement to restablish its Leadership role there as a developed nation after Donald Trump presidency.

Some concerning facts related to climate change

  • Carbon dioxide emissions has increased to 420 parts / million which is huge concern
  • One of WHO’s recent reports state that if climate change and CO2 emissions remain at same pace then temperature will rise to 2.4 degree Celsius ( though countries are targeting to contain it at 1.5 degree celsius)

WHY developed nations need to take the lead?

– Developed nations are the ones which have most benefited from burning fossil fuels and emit large waste and CO2, so they are responsible to take the lead while tackling climate change too.

– 70-80% of carbon waste on the planet is historic waste by developed nations thus they held moral obligation to take aggressive actions to tackle climate change

– 1992 Rio agreement was passed involving only developed nations which are mentioned in Annex 1 of Paris agreement but after few years developing nations were also involved considering the pace of climate change and the contribution developing nations required to tackle this issue

– In 2009 -10 it was decided that Developing nations should be provided 100 billion dollars on account of loss due to climate change by developed nations which is yet to be met.

– Developed nations need to provide technical and financial support to developing nations for tackling climate change so developing nations don’t need to rely on loans for long term finance .

How developed nations can take the lead?

  • New technology needs to be developed and shared with developing countries
  • Green technology need to be introduced at larger scale.
  • Lifestyle need to be critically analysed ( 33% of agriculture produce goes without eating, industrial agriculture contributes to CO2
  • Research on adaptation and prevention of climate and economic disaster (challenging issues like forest fires)

Currently, not enough is being done to meet the three climate goals

  • Reducing emissions 45 per cent by 2030
  • Achieving climate neutrality by 2050 (which means a net zero carbon footprint)
  • Stabilizing global temperature rise at 1.5°C by the end of the century

Challenges in addressing climate change

Regional Inequality

  • The principle of Common but differentiated responsibilities was proposed to tackle climate change by addressing the regional inequality.
  • However, the indifferent behaviour by the developed countries has led to partial success of many global initiatives. Eg. Kyoto Protocol.

Developed Countries not taking responsibility

  • Historical emissions and pollution caused due to industrial revolution is not accepted by the industrialized nations. Eg. USA rejecting the Paris deal.

Finance

  • Huge amount of funds are required for adaptation and mitigation measures to be adopted.
  • For eg: electric mobility, certainly is a green measure, but is actually expensive, in immediate terms, in terms of cost per vehicle kilometre.
  • The cost of shifting into renewable energy is also a fiscal challenge to most countries.

Technology

  • Commercialization of clean technology in form of Patents, evergreening has made it unaffordable.
  • Increasing use of fossil fuels due to it being cheaper.
  • Significant time lags in human response systems.
  • Risks, judgments about risk, and adaptation needs are highly variable across different contexts.

A path for India without compromising for Developmental Activities

  • India has the potential to show the pathway to accelerating action on climate change even while pursuing its development interests.
  • A notable example is its energy efficiency track record, which helps limit greenhouse gases even while saving the nation energy.
  • India needs domestic energy policies that are more clearly and coherently tuned to a future low carbon world.
  • Instead, the aim should be to make accelerated climate action congruent with an enlightened notion of national interest by focusing on key actions in rapidly changing areas such as energy and urbanisation.

INDIA’s role in combating climate change

  • India is the 4th largest emitter of CO2 in the world, hence India needs to step up efforts.
  • India need to take steps beyond Paris agreement to transform into a low carbon economy
  • Solutions which are valid in least developed countries and in vulnerable areas and communities need to be implemented
  • Overall it will not only help in climate change but also in food resources, improving biodiversity. India can move towards 5 trillion economy by working and taking a lead

Major initiatives of the Government towards combating climate change

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): The Action plan covers eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility: Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.
  • UJALA scheme: The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission

Way Forward

  • Localized Climate risk atlas at national scale level.
  • We have technology but need to work on R & D to reach our targets.
  • The real challenge is to get other developed countries on board.
  • Wealthy nations like the U.S., and those of the EU argued that emissions from developing countries are consistently rising and they need to commit to more serious emission cuts. A consensus needs to be developed at the earliest.
  • The ‘developing versus developed country’ schism needs to be diluted at the earliest and Developed Countries should avoid watering down the CBDR principle envisaged in earlier agreements.
  • We should not treat climate change as an environmental problem but need to address it as developmental challenge.
  • Investment in R&D is needed to spur innovations in sustainable climate-friendly and climate-proof productivity, and the private sector can help on this.
  • Climate finance can prove to be a compelling financial tool to align India’s growth with various climate change measures.

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