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Outcome of Paris Climate Summit

Paris Agreement was recently adopted by 195 countries of UNFCCC, which agreed to take measures to control climate change.

We had written 4 explainers for a comprehensive coverage and they can be read here – 

As we move ahead, let’s take a look at this agreement with respect to various dimensions and debates, which are going on in the international sphere.

When this agreement will enter into force?

The agreement in Paris will come into effect only after 2020 when the Kyoto Protocol, an existing international mechanism to deal with climate change, comes to an end.

What is the temperature goal?

The agreement says that its objective is to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius, but pursue efforts to keep it below 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.

It also says that IPCC will come with a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degree Celsius and above pre-industrial levels. <IPCC reports form the scientific basis on which the world is taking climate action>

Let’s analyse the implications

  • Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing Countries (SIDCs) were demanding that the rising temperature be kept under 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • LDCs fear that cost of adaptation will be high, if the temperature is allowed to risee upto 2 degree Celsius.

What about Finance and Technology Transfer ?

Finance

Developed nations have been asked to provide financial resources, but $ 100 bn mark does not figure in the agreement. $ 100 bn has been shifted to the decision text, which is a list of all decisions taken at the conference.

Developing countries are also asked to raise financial resources, even as voluntary effort.< This was one of the demands of the developed countries to widen the base of countries who will provide financial resources>

There has to be a balance between the mitigation and adaptation needs of the developing countries, while allocating financial resources.

Technology

The developed countries to abide by their promises to provide technology development and transfer, and capacity building to developing countries.

Why is it a matter of concern?

  • Paris Agreement is a permanent document, while the decisions of the conference can be modified.
  • This gives a message that developed nations will provide $ 100 bn every year from 2020, but they will not increase it annually, as demanded by developing countries.

Carbon Neutral, by when?

The agreement says that, world should peak emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the second half of this century.

This means that to limit the amount of GHG emitted by human activity to the same levels which can be absorbed naturally such as trees, soil, ocean, etc beginning 2050.

What happens to INDCs?

In the run-up to the Paris conference, 186 countries submitted their INDCs, giving information about the climate actions they planned to take until 2025 or 2030. INDCs would henceforth be called only Nationally Determined Contributions.

Every country needs to communicate NDCs every 5 years. Each NDC has to be progressively more ambitious than the previous one.

However, NDCs are not legally binding, i.e. the targets set by nations will not be binding under the Paris Climate Agreement. <India, China and South Africa were unwilling to sign up for this condition because they felt that it could hamper economic growth and development>

What is Global Stocktake?

  • It refers to a proposed a 5-yearly review of the impact of countries climate change actions.
  • It will assess whether the net result of the climate actions being taken was consistent with the goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature from pre-industrial times to within 2 degree Celsius.
  • It is mandatory for every country to participate in the global stocktake, the exercise will not assess whether actions of any individual country are adequate or not.

The best part of global stocktake is that it will also assess whether developed countries are adequate help to developing countries by providing money and technology.

Is Differentiation principle at Stake?

Experts are divided on whether developed countries succeeded in their effort to do away with concept of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities.

The Paris agreement firmly anchors ‘differentiation’ for developing countries. At many places, differentiation is achieved by having different kind of commitments for developed and developing countries.

Developed countries are expected to take the lead on mitigation and support, while developing countries are expected to take actions within the context of their sustainable development and poverty eradication imperatives.

Let’s see what is the other point of view.

  • All parties have to report NDCs every 5 years.
  • There is no differentiation in reporting, inventory of GHGs and progress made in implementation of NDCs.< Inventory is basically a list of all units which release GHGs>
  • The stocktake is universal for aggregate actions and it will happen in 2023 and every 5 years henceforth.
  • Developed countries are asked to take absolute economy-wide emission reduction targets, while developing countries will enhance mitigation efforts, but are encouraged to move towards economy-wide reduction in the light of national circumstances.

Published with inputs from Pushpendra 

Any doubts?


  1. KEERTHI ALAGENDHI

    Didn’t understand the concept of global stocktake??? please help

    1. Vishal Rungta

      it just means taking a report of the overall progress of the Paris deal every 5 years in which all member countries has to participate. Also the report will be taken as a whole and not of individual countries.

  2. Ashish Singh

    What is the significance of news India ratifies Paris Climate Agreement. I mean leave apart the moral responsibility, what are the other benefits of ratifying the agreement?
    Reference: http://www.rajras.in/index.php/india-ratifies-paris-climate-agreement/

  3. grandhesila kiran

    Does all developed countries has to raise Green Climate fund or is there any emission percentage set to raise the fund.
    Will the fund be shared to rest of the countries and how will it be shared?

    1. Sahdev Meena

      Not sure how the developed country gonna divide their share in get, but as for the use purpose it’s gonna be used to help develop mitigation and adaption technology within the developing/least developed countries and to buy green technology from the countries(developed mostly) which have developed it already so kind of we’ll give you money first then u buy techs from us with that money

      1. Sahdev Meena

        *share in gcf

    2. Arun Muradnar

      Basically, Green Climate Fund (GCF) aims to make a ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change.
      This mechanism helps to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.
      It is intended that GCF is to raise $100 billion per year in climate financing by 2020.
      Recently, EU expects India and other emerging economies to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, stating that ‘geopolitical realities have changed significantly’.

      http://www.livemint.com/Politics/Nb1BnGE06tuW2E4FMjjzPN/EU-wants-India-to-contribute-to-the-UN-Green-Climate-Fund.html

    3. Rini Sen

      The process of designing the GCF has raised several issues. These include ongoing questions on how funds will be raised,[13] the role of the private sector,[14] the level of “country ownership” of resources,[15] and the transparency of the Board itself.

      (Took this from wikipedia)

Bonn climate change conference nears end amidst calls to phase out coal

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: COP-23, IPCC, Global Alliance To Power Past Coal

Mains level: Phasing out use of coal (Asked in Mains 2017)


News

Context

The New Initiative- The Global Alliance To Power Past Coal

  1. A new initiative, led by the United Kingdom and Canada, to phase-out the use of coal for electricity generation was launched at the COP-23 at Bonn
  2. It seeks to bring together countries, regions, and cities to commit themselves to phase-out of coal within their jurisdictions within their chosen timelines
  3. A declaration by the newly-launched alliance said that coal phase-out needed to be carried out no later than by 2030 in the OECD and EU countries
  4. And no later than by 2050 in the rest of the world to meet the temperature goals set in the Paris Agreement.
  5. According to the declaration phasing out traditional coal power is one of the most important steps to tackle climate change and meet commitment to keep global temperature increase well below 2 degree Celsius (compared to pre-industrial times), and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degree Celsius
  6. Eighteen countries and a few states from the United States and Canada joined the alliance at the time of its launch
  7. The alliance says it hopes to have at least 50 partners by next year’s climate change conference.
  8. The global alliance launched is a fantastic example of the leadership needed to win the race against climate change

Financing of the IPCC

  1. The French President promised to compensate for the loss of American funding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which carries out periodic assessments of climate change science and whose recommendations provide the scientific foundation to the international climate negotiations

Other Announcements

  1. An important agreement on ‘pre-2020 actions’ was announced.
  2. And also four European countries agreed to ratify the Doha amendments to the Kyoto Protocol.
  3. A new ‘border tax’ to protect the economy of Europe from imports from countries that do not respect these (climate) goals and are not supporting the environmental transition was also proposed by French President.
  4. Countries agreed to organise a series of workshops to explore ways to climate-proof agriculture

Demonetisation, GST could have helped India cut greenhouse gas emissions in 2017: Report

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Paris Agreement, Demonetisation, GST, 2017 Global Carbon Budget report

Mains level: This newscard talks about India’s GHG emissions which were substantially lower and the reasons for it


News

Context

  1. The growth in India’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 was substantially lower than the average in the last one decade, and it seems demonetization and the introduction of goods and services tax also had some role to play in it
  2. The 2017 Global Carbon Budget report, published simultaneously in the journals Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters, and Earth System Science Data Discussions says that by the end of this year, global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industrial use was likely to increase by 2 percent compared to last year, ending a three-year period of almost zero growth.

Why rise in Global Emissions?

  1. The rise in global emissions could be attributed to a 3.5 percent projected increase in the emissions of China, which had remained almost flat last year, and relatively lower reductions in the United States and the European Union compared to last year
  2. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the United States, European Union, and India
  3. The return to growth in global emissions in 2017 is largely due to a return to growth in Chinese emissions, projected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2017 after two years with declining emissions
  4. The use of coal, the main fuel source in China, may rise by 3 percent due to stronger growth in industrial production and lower hydro-power generation due to less rainfall

India’s GHG Emissions

  1. India’s greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and industrial use was likely to be 2.5 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent
  2. Though India’s emissions in 2017 are also projected to rise, this increase is likely to be only 2 percent over last year
  3. In the last one decade, India’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by an average of almost six percent every year

Why low emissions in India?

  1. The report acknowledges the rapid progress made in the installation of solar energy in India but says the substantially lower growth rate could be attributed to a slowdown in the economy as well.
  2. India’s installed solar capacity almost doubled in 2016 to 12 GW (gigawatts)
  3. The report published in Environmental Research Letters says the reduction in this year’s growth is attributable to many factors, which include
  • reduced exports,
  • a declining share of industrial and agricultural production in GDP,
  • reduced consumer demand, and
  • both a sudden fall in money circulation attributable to demonetization late in 2016 and a goods and services tax introduced in 2017

Emissions in India may increase if:

  1. India’s economy was able to recover quicker then the annual growth in greenhouse gas emissions was once again likely to go over 5 percent in 2018.

Global Emissions

  1. Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 from fossil fuels and industrial use were projected to be 36.8 GT of CO2 equivalent.
  2. Of this, China would account for 10.5 Gt, the United States 5.3 GT, and the European Union 3.5 Gt.
  3. Rest of the world would contribute 15.1 GT of CO2 equivalent.

The main contributors to global GHG emissions

  1. Fossil fuel burning and industrial use account for nearly 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by human activities.
  2. The third big contribution comes from changes in land use. Deforestation, for example, would lead to increased emissions.
  3. The total emissions from all sources, including the contribution from land-use change, was projected to reach about 41 Gt of CO2 equivalent in 2017.
  4. The growth in emissions was likely to continue in 2018 as well.

This could have very important consequences for the global efforts to contain the rise in temperatures to within two-degree Celsius from pre-industrial times, which is the objective of the Paris Agreement

European Union defensive on pre-2020 action; India, China reject compromise formula

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Note4Students

Mains Paper 3 | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Prelims level: Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol, Doha Amendments, G-77

Mains level: This article gives insights about how EU played down an ongoing confrontation with developing countries over ‘pre-2020 actions’. Also highlights the demands of developing countries at the meet


News

Context

EU and Pre 2020 actions

  1. A defensive European Union played down an ongoing confrontation with developing countries over ‘pre-2020 actions’on climate change and a compromise solution was nowhere in sight yet,
  2. India and China comprehensively rejected initial proposals to address their demands

EU’s stand on the issue

  1. Although EU was yet to ratify the Doha amendments, it is already on course to meet commitments for the pre-2020 period
  2. EU does consider ‘pre-2020 actions’ important
  3. According to EU, it was more about finding the right forums, in several parallel meetings, to discuss this so that the main work of finalizing the rule-book for Paris Agreement is not affected

Developing Countries at COP-23

  1. Amidst effort at this conference to finalize the rule-book for implementation of Paris Agreement, developing countries have been trying to emphasize that actions promised for the pre-2020 period under Kyoto Protocol should not be neglected
  2. In a parallel development, the developing countries, at the instance of India and China, have also decided to request the UN climate change secretariat to organize an event at the conference next week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol
  3. The developing countries hope this would help bring more attention to ‘pre-2020 actions’and put further pressure on developed countries to deliver on their promises.
  4. The G-77 group of developing countries, with more than 130 members also sent a formal proposal in this regard to the Secretariat
  5. The developing countries have been accusing the developed world of trying to run away from their obligations under Kyoto Protocol that has three more years to run
  6. Since the start of the conference, developing countries have been protesting against non-inclusion of the ‘pre-2020 actions’ in the official agenda of discussions

Kyoto Protocol

  1. Kyoto Protocol had placed mandatory emission cut targets on rich and developed countries.
  2. These countries had to achieve these cuts in the 2005-2012 period.
  3. Later, through amendments made in Doha in 2012, the mandate of Kyoto Protocol was extended till 2020 with fresh targets for these countries.
  4. The Doha Amendments have still not become operational as an adequate number of countries have not yet ratified it
  5. The Paris Agreement, finalized in 2015, is essentially the successor agreement to Kyoto Protocol
  6. The Paris Agreement does not assign any emission targets on countries, letting them decide for themselves what actions to take

3 Point Formula by Fiji

  1. Fiji has put forward a three-point compromise formula
  2. It has proposed that discussions on ‘pre-2020 actions’ be held at a scheduled review meeting next year
  3. Then every subsequent year after that
  4. And a new website be set up providing information on ‘pre-2020 actions’ being taken
  5. India and China have rejected the compromise formula

[op-ed snap] For a wider cover: meeting climate goals

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Bonn Challenge, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), agroforestry, Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) systems, NABARD, Foundation for Ecological Security

Mains level: India’s actions to tackle climate change and way forward


News

India’s Bonn Challenge commitment

  1. In 2015, India made a Bonn Challenge commitment to place into restoration 13 million hectares (Mha) of degraded land by 2020 and an additional 8 Mha by 2030
  2. India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) have also pledged to sequester 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent additionally by 2030 through enhanced tree cover

Is Bonn challenge only about planting trees?

  1. Neither the Bonn Challenge nor the NDCs are about large-scale plantations alone
  2. The Bonn Challenge lays emphasis on landscape approaches — a model aimed at improving the ecology of a landscape as a whole in order to benefit local livelihoods and conserve biodiversity
  3. The NDC lays emphasis not only on carbon sequestration but also adaptation to climate change through a strengthened flow of benefits to local communities that are dependent on forests and agriculture for sustenance

India’s policy framework

  1. India’s policy framework on forests lays emphasis on a landscape approach to manage forest and tree cover
  2. This is to ensure that the flow of multiple ecosystem services — including food security, climate mitigation and adaptation, conservation of biological diversity and water supplies — is secured

Are large-scale tree plantations sustainable?

  1. Large-scale plantation drives, often do not lay stress on species selection, the quality of planting materials or survival rates, nor recognize tenure and resource rights to ensure that the benefit flows to communities
  2. Thus they do not really achieve the goals

What should be done?

  1. Plantations should be taken up as one measure among a larger suite of interventions
  2. To operationalize a landscape approach, we must protect healthy forest areas from deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation
  3. We must also creatively integrate trees into different land uses
  4. It is also important to have in place a performance monitoring system to quantify tree survival rates and the benefits to communities
  5. This can be achieved through a combination of remote sensing, crowdsourced, ground-level monitoring with support from communities and civil society organizations

Advantage possessed by India 

  1. India has numerous models that are suited for different regions and farm household sizes to draw upon
  2. The nation practices at least 35 types of agroforestry models that combine different trees that provide timber, fruits, fodder, fuel and fertilizers with food crops

Different models that can be used

  1. Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) systems where farmers protect and manage the growth of trees and shrubs that regenerate naturally in their fields from rootstock or from seeds dispersed through animal manure can deliver several economic and ecosystem benefits
  2. In Niger, West Africa, farmers operating on 5 Mha of land added roughly 200 million on-farm trees using FMNR in the past 30 years. This has sequestered 25-30 million tonnes of carbon and increased annual agricultural production by about 500,000 tonnes
  3. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’s (NABARD’s) ‘Wadi’ model and the Foundation for Ecological Security’s re-greening of village commons project are good examples of tree-based interventions

ROA Methodology

  1. A tool called the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) is being used in 40 countries to find the best methods for landscape restoration
  2. The tool includes rigorous analysis of spatial, legal and socio-economic data and draws on consultations with key stakeholders to determine the right type of interventions
  3. In India, this tool is being piloted in Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh

Way Forward

  1. India has the policy framework, the political will and financing to endorse landscape restoration
  2. Need of the hour is innovation and imagination to build replicable and scalable models with a participatory approach to achieve the country’s climate goals through landscape restoration

Developed, developing nations lock horns on pre-2020 action

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pre-2020 action, G-77, ALBA, AILAC, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, Doha Amendments

Mains level: Climate change and actions being taken by developed and developing countries


News

Major stand-off at the climate change conference in Bonn

  1. The issue of ‘pre-2020 action’ has led to the first major stand-off at the climate change conference in Bonn
  2. How? Developing countries want to get this included in the formal agenda of discussions, and the developed nations are opposing the move saying the schedule was already “very busy”
  3. India and ‘like-minded developing countries’ had protested against the fact that ‘pre-2020 action’ was not part of the official agenda of the conference

Everyone in support

  1. Almost every developing country grouping — the G-77, which is the largest negotiating group with over 130 countries, the African group, the Arab group, the ALBA and AILAC group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the small island states — supported the demand

What is ‘pre-2020 action’?

  1. The ‘pre-2020 action’ refers to the obligations of the developed countries under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that has still three more years to run
  2. The Paris Agreement, finalized in 2015, is essentially a successor treaty for the post-2020 world

Kyoto Protocol timeline and obligations

  1. The Kyoto Protocol had put the responsibility of reducing emissions only on a small group of rich and developed countries
  2. These countries had to achieve targeted cuts in the period 2005 and 2012
  3. Later, in the Doha climate conference, amendments to the Kyoto Protocol extended its mandate till 2020 with fresh targets for these countries
  4. The Doha Amendments, as they came to be called, have still not become operational as adequate number of countries have not yet ratified it
  5. India has repeated its demand for a deadline for ratification of the Doha amendments

Back2Basics

ALBA Group of countries

  1. ALBA or ALBA-TCP is an intergovernmental organization based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean
  2. It was formally known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America or the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty
  3. Founded initially by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, it is associated with socialist and social democratic governments wishing to consolidate regional economic integration based on a vision of social welfare, bartering and mutual economic aid
  4. The eleven member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela
  5. ALBA nations may conduct trade using a virtual regional currency known as the SUCRE.
  6. The name “Bolivarian” refers to the ideology of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century South American independence leader born in Caracas who wanted Hispanic America to unite as a single “Great Nation”

AILAC Group of countries

  1. The Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean is a group of eight countries that share interests and positions on climate change
  2. Its main objective is to generate coordinated, ambitious positions and contribute to the balance in the multilateral negotiations on climate change with a coherent vision for sustainable development that is responsible to the environment and future generations
  3. AILAC was established as a formal negotiating group under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2012, during the Conference of the Parties in Doha, Qatar
  4. AILAC comprises the following countries: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru

India on course to achieve its 2030 climate targets: New report

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India’s NDCs

Mains level: The new report show India’s seriousness and implementation level of environment protection programmes, which is comparatively better than developed countries.


News

Encouraging achievement for India

  1. India is among a small group of countries that are on track to achieve their self-declared climate targets under the Paris Agreement with their current policies in place
  2. It is revealed by a new report released at the climate change conference
  3. The new report is prepared jointly by the NewClimate Institute, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Other particulars of the report

  1. The report says that only nine of the 25 top emitting countries it surveyed were in line with achieving their targets mentioned in their respective ‘nationally-determined contributions (NDCs)’
  2. Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Ukraine, and Colombia were the other countries on track to achieve their climate targets, the report found
  3. While the European Union, the United States, Australia, South Korea and Canada were among those that needed to take additional measures to fulfill their promises

India’s NDC

  1. In its NDC, India had promised to reduce its emissions intensity — greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP — by 33 to 35 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030
  2. It had also promised to ensure that at least 40 per cent of its energy in 2030 would be generated from non-fossil fuel sources, like solar, wind or bio-fuels
  3. In addition, it had said it would rapidly increase its forest cover so that an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent is created by the year 2030

 

[op-ed snap] Spirit of Paris: on the climate change meet in Bonn

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Paris Agreement,  greenhouse gases (GHGs), Emissions Gap Report

Mains level: Climate change and its impacts


News

23rd conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change underway in Bonn

  1. The conference faces the challenge of raising the ambition of the world’s leaders and giving practical form to the provisions of the Paris Agreement
  2. The Agreement has a benchmark of raising $100 billion a year by 2020
  3. The Trump administration in the U.S., one of the top emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), has announced it will withdraw from the pact

Positives

  1. China, which has achieved rapid economic growth and leads in GHG emissions, is firmly behind the pact to reduce the risk of climate change
  2. There is steady progress in the growth of renewable energy sources as they become cheaper and the efficiency of solar, wind and energy storage technologies improves

Major risks from climate change

  1. Extreme weather phenomena
  2. Loss of agriculture
  3. Water stress
  4. Harm to human health
  5. For some countries, such as Fiji, and other small island-states, the future is deeply worrying because of the fear that sea levels may rise sharply due to climate change

What is needed now?

  1. The recent Emissions Gap Report from the UN underscores the terrible mismatch between the voluntary pledges made by countries for the Paris Agreement and what is necessary to keep a rise in global average temperature below 2º C
  2. All major countries, especially those that have depleted the global carbon budget by releasing massive amounts of GHGs since the Industrial Revolution, have to respond with stronger caps in their updated pledges under the Paris Agreement

Climate meet begins: India pushes developed countries to deliver

Note4Students

Mains Paper 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Prelims: Conference of Parties (COP)- 23, Paris Agreement, Doha Amendments.

Mains level: Paris Agreement, Doha amendments are important topics for mains. This article gives insights about what happened at the first day of COP-23 at Fiji. The points from the article can be cited in the GS answers.


News

Context

  1. FIJI set the stage for the fresh edition of the climate change conference, urging the world to commit itself to a 1.5 degree celsius limit on global warming, rather than a two-degree target, as it moves towards finalising the rule-book for the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.
  2. The two-week conference, an annual year-end affair, is being held under the shadow of the decision of the USA administration to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a move that severely undermines the goals and objectives of that agreement.
  3. On the opening day of the conference, however, there were no overt references to the US decision, even though that was the big subject of discussion in informal conversations.
  4. The US is participating in the conference, since its withdrawal cannot become effective until 2020, but its delegation remained silent on the opening day.
  5. India and other “like-minded developing countries” are a group of about 25 nations made an early intervention on Monday in a fresh bid to force the developed countries to deliver on their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, the precursor to the Paris Agreement, which still has three years to go before expiring in 2020.

Doha Amendments

  1. Amendments made to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol in Doha in 2013 extended the mandate of developed countries to take targeted cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions till 2020.
  2. The earlier mandate was to make emission cuts between 2005 and 2012.
  3. The Doha amendments are yet to become operational because they haven’t been ratified by enough countries.
    Ratification of the Doha amendments was not included in the agenda of the current conference, which India and some other countries objected.
  4. They argued that the conference must decide on a deadline, possibly sometime next year, for every country to ratify the Doha amendments.
  5. The developed countries are trying to avoid their responsibilities under the Kyoto Protocol.
  6. The Kyoto Protocol is not yet dead.
  7. There is still plenty that can be done within Kyoto Protocol provided there is intention to do so.
  8. Developing countries will continue to press for early operationalisation of the Doha amendments so that we can see some action being taken in the pre-2020 period as well.
  9. Fiji, the host and president of the conference, agreed to consider the suggestion by India and other countries, and appointed a facilitator to hold consultations .
  10. Fiji, which, like many other small island nations, is facing the worst impact of rising sea levels as a result of climate change, insisted that countries should adopt a 1.5 degree target.
  11. Small island countries are the most vocal in supporting the 1.5 degree target, threatened as their existence is by the rising seas.

 

The Paris Agreement

  1. The Paris Agreement wants the world to prevent the rise in global temperature beyond 2 degree celsius from pre-industrial levels, though it acknowledges that the effort to contain the temperature rise to within 1.5 degree celsius must not be abandoned.
  2. In the next two weeks and the year ahead to do everything we can to make the Paris Agreement work and to advance ambition and support for climate action before 2020.

Way Forward

  1. A greater effort is needed from the developed countries and big emitters in reducing their emissions.
  2. Aiming for 1.5 degrees is a serious challenge. But it provides a mission to the countries and engages their capacity for ingenuity, for organisation and sheer hard work.
  3. And may be the target will be achieved when humanity’s capacity to innovate is unleashed.
  4. The latest scientific assessments indicated that the world was actually moving towards a 3 to 5 degree celsius temperature rise.
  5. A new report by WMO also showed that the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere had crossed 403 parts per million, the highest ever.
  6. Scientists believe that concentrations of 450 ppm would lead to catastrophic and irreversible damage to the earth.

Nations may focus on human and economic losses at climate talks

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the G-77 and COP23

Mains level: The G-77 is an important organisation. And it is important to know its working, its focus area, its concerns, etc.(all of which are explained in the article)


News

23rd round of UN-sponsored climate talks: UN Climate Conference or COP23

  1. Officials from 196 countries gathering in Bonn to work on a collective plan to slow down global warming at the 23rd round of UN-sponsored climate talks

Issues raised by the developing countries

  1. Developing countries are highlighting the urgent need to step up efforts to address the serious human and economic losses already taking place due to climate change
  2. Developing countries are calling for the urgent need to secure long-term finance flows to help poor countries take the measures required to tackle climate change and deal with its impaact
  3. Developing countries are suggesting that a quantified goal for long-term finances, beyond the $100 billion by 2020, be agreed on to help poor countries

Focus of the ‘G-77 and China’

  1. It is planning to focus on the need to proactively address the clear impact that climate change is already having
  2. Their focus will be on ensuring the flow of finance, technology, and building capacities in developing countries to deal with climate change
  3. The group will also push for increased discussions of adaptation that will help countries to adjust to changes that are already underway
  4. The ‘G-77 and China’ is expected to draw attention to the “serious human and economic losses” to urge greater focus on efforts by countries, particularly industrialised ones, in the period before 2020

Future plans of the G-77

  1. It would like the work on loss and damage to integrated into the broader discussions under the UNFCCC
  2. This will help identify and implement concrete alternatives of support and cooperation for developing countries hit by extreme weather events
  3. To this end, the G-77 plans to call for the inclusion of loss and damage as a permanent item on the agenda
  4. The G-77 is proposing to construct a proper way to recognise and register adaptation efforts and measures

Concerns of the G-77

  1. It is expressing concern about the decline in funding available for efforts to adapt to climate change
  2. Their particular concern is the manner in which specific multilateral funds, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) are operating
  3. The group will raise the issue of unwarranted requirements that have not been agreed to by all countries
  4. And the manner in which these are placing an additional burden to developing countries
  5. The other issue that the G-77 is flagging is that of long-term finance

Expectations from the Bonn meeting

  1. The developing countries hope that the discussion over the next two weeks in Bonn will help to identify the needs and priorities of developing countries, particularly on adaptation, financing, technology and capacity building
  2. These discussions could result in a new long-term financial goal that would include a new collective quantified goal beyond the “already committed and yet insufficient floor of $100 billion per year”

Back2basics

Group of 77(G-77)

  1. The Group of 77 (G77) at the United Nations is a coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations
  2. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but by November 2013 the organization had since expanded to 134 member countries
  3. Since China participates in the G77 but does not consider itself to be a member, all official statements are issued in the name of The Group of 77 and China.
  4. Ecuador holds the Chairmanship for 2017.
  5. The group was founded on 15 June 1964, by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  6. The first major meeting was in Algiers in 1967, where the Charter of Algiers was adopted and the basis for permanent institutional structures was begun
  7. There are Chapters of the Group of 77 in Geneva (UN), Rome (FAO), Vienna (UNIDO), Paris (UNESCO), Nairobi (UNEP) and the Group of 24 in Washington, D.C. (International Monetary Fund and World Bank)

[op-ed snap] It’s time to make deep emission cuts

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Geography | changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies & ice-caps) & in flora & fauna & the effects of such changes.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Eemian interglacial period, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Mains level: Climate change and measures required to limit it


Context

  1. In 2016, the earth’s temperature was 1.3°C warmer than in pre-industrial times
  2. This was as warm as in the Eemian interglacial period some 125,000 years ago — when sea levels were 6-9 meters higher than they are today

Future scenario

  1. Even if countries take the action they promised at the Paris climate change conference in 2015, the world would be about 3°C warmer by 2100
  2. This is well above the 2°C temperature guardrail to avoid dangerous climate change

Can this be avoided?

  1. Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that the earth can stay below 2°C
  2. How? The world would somehow make use of significant amounts of ‘negative emissions
  3. What is it? These are ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or even change the earth’s radiation balance through geoengineering
  4. Along with this, there would be increased use of renewables and improve the efficiency of energy services

Approaches that could remove or absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

  1. Better agricultural practices that leave carbon in the ground
  2. Use of biochar
  3. Undertaking afforestation and reforestation
  4. One method that is widely discussed is bioenergy for fuel in combination with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)
  5. This involves the use of plants as fuel
  6. The released carbon dioxide is then captured and safely stored indefinitely
  7. Limitation: Due to competition for land for food and other purposes, and due to technological limitations, this approach is believed to be inappropriate for extensive use
  8. Some scientists have been discussing the possibility of injecting cooling aerosols at a large scale in the atmosphere, but these geoengineering technologies pose huge risks and are also not long-term solutions

What if these approaches fail?

  1. If BECCS and other approaches for negative emissions fail, we are likely to see a 4°C increase in global temperatures
  2. The poorest countries will experience the worst impacts of climate change

Problems with negative emissions

  1. Policymakers do not fully recognize that widespread deployment of negative emissions is a central assumption in many climate models and the scenarios that are now being advocated to keep to a 2°C rise
  2. Negative emissions also create a moral hazard problem, where we expect (future) others to bail us out while we continue to lead profligate lives

Another problem: Peak emissions

  1. Even if global emissions were to go down to zero by 2050 through some Herculean feat, there would be a considerable amount of warming that the world is already locked into
  2. The adverse effects of these would be severe and difficult to adapt to
  3. This is already in evidence all over the world with several seasons of intense storms, droughts, floods, fires and their aftermath

What is required now?

  1. Policies need to support practices that
  • successfully keep carbon in the ground,
  • prevent deforestation,
  • support agricultural practice that sequesters carbon and
  • promote sustainable land use practices that reduce emissions

2. We also need a carbon tax

3. ‘Lifestyle’ and other consumption activities that may have hitherto been outside the radar of climate policy would have to be considered

4. Policies should nudge the more prosperous communities towards less carbon-intensive lifestyles, either through taxes or incentives or both

[op-ed snap] At Bonn, stay the course

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the COP, NDCs, etc.

Mains level: The UPSC is known to ask questions on COP and UNFCCC. Also, these issues are specially mentioned in the mains syllabus.


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the upcoming COP-23 meeting, issues to be discussed and challenges in attaining the targets.

23rd Conference of Parties (COP-23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

  1. Between November 6 and 17 this year, world leaders and delegates from various countries will gather at Bonn for attending this
  2. The meeting will primarily concentrate on various aspects associated with the implementation of the Paris Agreement (PA)
  3. PA was negotiated at COP-21 and entered into force, or became legally binding, on November 4, 2016

Issues to be discussed

  1. Adaptation to climate change
  2. Reduction in greenhouse gases
  3. Implementation of targets that were decided by each country ahead of the Paris meeting, eferred to as the nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
  4. In addition, the Bonn meetings will include the 47th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47) which assists on science and technology

New warming target

  1. At the Paris COP, countries agreed to try and limit global warming to 1.5°C
  2. But since previous discussions had centred on the Lakshman rekha of 2°C, this required renewed understanding of the policies and actions required to stay within a lower target
  3. Half a degree reduction may seem really small, but in terms of the impacts on ecosystems, geophysical cycles and diverse life forms on earth, this is a substantial difference

Is achieving the target of 1.5°C really possible?

  1. Many scientists who research climate change, believe that we are on our way to a world that is 4°C warmer and that limiting warming to less than 1.5°C is an impossible dream
  2. But a recent paper in Nature Geoscience scientists analyses scenarios to demonstrate that limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility
  3. But this would imply continuing to strengthen pledges for 2030, deepening the mitigation targets rapidly and deeply

Article 14 of the Agreement

  1. It provides the details on the targets, taking stock and reviewing them and the progress made towards long-term goals
  2. The first such stock-taking covering all aspects such as mitigation, adaptation communications, and support for implementation is expected to take place in 2023

Issues that can halt the progress

  1. This is the first COP after the US pulled out of the PA and the implications of this at a global platform are likely to become more evident
  2. According to earlier reports from the UN and other groups, the NDCs, when added up, fall short of what is needed to keep global temperature rise below 2°C and will likely take us about a degree higher
  3. Further, most NDCs are conditional — they depend on financial and technological support from rich countries for their full implementation

The way forward

  1. Political conditions prevalent today are not favourable to renegotiate the Paris Agreement
  2. Our only hope is to see a greater readiness on the part of all nations to compromise on their erstwhile hard positions, and sincerity to make progress in reducing emissions

Back2basics

Nationally Determined Contributions

  1. Countries across the globe adopted a historic international climate agreement at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015
  2. In anticipation of this moment, countries publicly outlined what post-2020 climate actions they intended to take under the new international agreement, known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
  3. The climate actions communicated in these INDCs largely determine whether the world achieves the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement: to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C, and to achieve net zero emissions in the second half of this century

India among the worst affected by climate change: IMF study

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Patterns of Global Warming’s affects around the world.


News

Region that will be most affected by the Global Warming

  1. According to a study of the IMF, countries in the tropics will be the worst affected as a result of global warming
  2. The report says, for the median emerging market economy, a 1°C increase from a temperature of 22°C lowers growth in the same year by 0.9 percentage point(see figure given below)

Affect on India and others

  1. India is one of the worst affected, with its per capita output expected to fall
  2. Other countries in the region, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia will be similarly affected

Affects on Developed Nations

  1. The impact of most developed nations, located in the temperate zone, is negligible
  2. The overall impact on China’s growth, too, is estimated to be negligible
  3. On the other hand, some northern nations such as Russia, Norway and Canada will see their growth improve

Heat in South Asia could exceed survivable levels by 2100, says study

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: These kind of studies are important which shows extreme effects of global warming on human beings.


News

Serious Concern

  1. According to a study, South Asia could see humid heat rise beyond survivable levels by century’s end if nothing is done to halt global warming
  2. The densely populated farming regions of South Asia could fare the worst
  3. Why: because workers are exposed to heat with little opportunity for escape into air-conditioned environments
  4. The Study is published in the journal: Science Advances 

This study is first of its kind

  1. The study is to look not just at temperatures, but at the forecast of “wet-bulb temperature”, which combines temperature, humidity and the human body’s ability to cool down in response
  2. The survivability threshold is considered to be 35°C, or 95°F

 

[op-ed snap] Climate-resilient bonds

  1. If Paris was about committing to prevent the rise of temperature beyond 2 degrees Celsius, Marrakech aimed on loss and damage
  2. Research by CEEW estimates that direct costs of extreme events spurred by climate change in India are $5-6 billion per annum
  3. Extreme events and changing precipitation seem to be the new norm in the India we inhabit
  4. We have witnessed innumerous instances of flooding, heat and cold waves and major drought. All these have far-reaching financial impacts
  5. Climate-resilient bonds are an innovative way for countries around the world to use public money to drive private investment from debt markets into climate-adaptation market
  6. Impact of loss and damage from climate risk should be distributed thinly between investors
  7. Green bond: an environment bond that channels debt capital for projects with environmental benefits
  8. Another climate-resilient bond is publicly issued bond to insure against the outcome for a specific climate risk
  9. Case Study: government of WB could issue a tax-free—yielding market return—bond for a five-year duration
  10. In case of major flooding due to a rise in precipitation in WB, the investment is forfeited by the investor and used by state to cover loss and damage caused by the flooding
  11. Another climate-resilient bond is when funds raised to protect against climate risks are used for adaptation activities
  12. It combines borrowing from the debt market for climate projects, and sharing the climate risk between multiple individual investors

[op-ed snap]Marrakesh Climate Change

  1. Paris agreement: is not the global ambition to stablise climate, but “transparency of actions”
  2. It is a tool for mutual/collective verification and review of actions from a competitive perspective
  3. Spirit of Paris CoP was re-affirmed through the Marrakesh Proclamation on Climate and Sustainable Development
  4. Paris agreement for the first time, recognised that the basket of international actions could include actions taken by NGOs, civil society, sub-national or constituent units of states, business coalitions, and/or international bodies
  5. Only now have the private sector and businesses have started genuinely believing in climate change actions as a strategy for their future growth
  6. Pointers to Marrakesh climate change conference: It discussed the scope and designed elements for implementing the Paris agreement
  7. Marrakesh CoP aimed at an action-based meeting, and safely launching the process of facilitative dialogue for 2018
  8. Marrakesh had been projected as a place where all players will re-commit or declare new actions
  9. A call to all governments and non-government players to make contributions for climate stabilisation
  10. IPCC has been requested to come up with a special report on the global climate scenarios for achieving a 1.5 degree climate stabilisation goal
  11. This is designed to put additional pressure on countries and persuade them to take more ambitious and early actions for stabilisation of climate

Global unity to act on Paris climate deal

  1. Where: The U.N. climate summit in Marrakesh, Morocco
  2. All participating member nations came together to reaffirm their commitment to climate action under the Paris Agreement
  3. A Climate Vulnerable Forum, comprising a group of over 45 most vulnerable countries, was launched
  4. It adopted an agenda for maintaining the target of limiting warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels
  5. Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (which does not include the U.S.), also encouraged the speedy ratification of the Doha Amendment

UN meet calls for combating climate change on urgent priority

  1. What: The “Marrakesh Action Proclamation”, was agreed upon by all the parties — 196 nations and the EU bloc — taking part in the summit
  2. In it nearly 200 countries today called for “highest political commitment” to combat climate change on “urgent priority” at Marrakesh
  3. This was the 22nd Session of the COP to the UNFCCC
  4. Paris Agreement was supposed to be a post-2020 climate agreement, replacing the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2020
  5. However, the earlier than expected entry into force of Paris Agreement means that the two agreements will run in parallel till the year 2020

India demands ‘climate justice’

  1. Where: UN climate summit at Marrakech, Morocco
  2. India’s aims: Seeking a clear definition of climate justice in the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines
  3. And pushing for uninterrupted flow of finance from developed countries to meet the targets of the agreement
  4. The term ‘climate justice’ is being used by India, it includes receiving finance from developed countries
  5. International Solar Alliance: 20 countries joined the India-led ISA. It calls for cooperation to boost solar energy infrastructure and receive clean energy financing

At CoP 22, India will highlight climate impact on Himalayas

  1. Event: India will host a special side event during the UN Climate Change Conference opening on Monday at Marrakech, Morocco
  2. Why: To focus on the 12 Himalayan States that face the impact of a changing climate
  3. Importance: The Himalayas provide water to 1.3 billion people in Asia
  4. Experts say: They have been inadequately represented over the past three decades in climate change discussions
  5. Currently, the Himalayas are not spoken about even at discussions in international forums on mountain countries
  6. Though the Himalayas are warming faster than the global average, they are not yet in focus

Paris Agreement enters into force, but emissions continue to rise II

  1. The UNEP report further shows that even if fully implemented, the unconditional INDCs will only help with staying below an increase in temperature of 3.2°C by 2100
  2. This can have disastrous consequences for the climate
  3. The report has therefore emphasised on pre-2020 action by countries
  4. Raising ambition before 2020 is likely the last chance to keep the option of limiting global warming to 1.5°C

Paris Agreement enters into force, but emissions continue to rise I

  1. Event: The Paris Agreement enters into force on Friday
  2. 94 countries of 197 UN member nations have ratified the Paris climate agreement till now
  3. And hopes are high that the treaty will be able to lead the way to a carbon neutral world
  4. However, a UN Environment Programme report released Thursday has shown that global emissions have continued to rise

[op-ed snap] The Way Forward from Paris

  1. Context: The idea of ‘climate justice’ which has been ingrained in the preamble of Paris agreement and its implementation strategy
  2. The Bolivarian group of countries, who have been the most ardent advocates of climate justice in the past, have relied on the notion of ‘compensation for damage’
  3. In its least confrontational connotation, the notion of climate justice is equivalent to the principle of equity and differentiation in actions
  4. Common but differentiated responsibility: Remember this key term? this centerpiece of the Kyoto Protocol, is no longer the only basis of actions and some believe that Paris agreement has also moved away from this centerpiece of UNFCC framework
  5. Hence, this new keyword – Climate Justice and the debate around how best to define it!
  6. Way forward: Justice in climate is not confined to actions relating to mitigation but includes the wider notion of support for adaptation to climate change and compensation for loss and damage.

[op-ed snap] Kigali warning  

  • Theme: Kigali accord which amends the Montreal Protocol of 1989 to allow it to eliminate HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons).
  • The accord divides the world into three groups.
  • First group: The richest countries, including the US and European Union nations, will freeze the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018 and reduce their use to about 15 per cent of 2012 levels by 2036.
  • Second group: A group of developing countries, including China, Brazil and South Africa, are mandated to freeze HFC use by 2024 and reduce it to 20 per cent of their average value in 2020-22 by 2045.
  • Third group: India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and oil economies like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will have to freeze HFC use by 2028 and reduce it to about 15 per cent of 2025 levels by 2047.
  • What are HFCs? They comprise a small part of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere and do not harm the ozone layer. But their heat-trapping capacity is more than a thousand times that of carbon dioxide, making them far more destructive to the climate than the more well-known GHG.
  • Points of concern: India’s peers on most environmental compacts i.e. China, Brazil and South Africa opted for the middle-level phase-out schedule while India negotiated for a lenient schedule.
  • Even, many of the hottest and poorest countries, including the entire African bloc, did not opt for the most lenient timetable.
  • India’s refrigeration and air conditioning industry has been oblivious to the steps taken by its international counterparts e.g. EU banned the use of HFCs in cars in 2011 and is phasing out the chemical in other industries.
  • Also, industries in the US have started replacing CFCs with climate-friendly refrigerants.

 

[op-ed snap] Paris Climate Agreement – an onerous task ahead

  1. Theme: With the European Union’s ratification, the Paris Climate Agreement is set to enter into force on November 4, 2016.
  2. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, individual countries are now responsible for implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), goals that each country developed and submitted to the UNFCCC before the Paris Conference of Parties (COP) last December.
  3. Most of the pledges, including India’s, are partly or entirely conditional on financial support for their implementation.
  4. Issues: Lack of progress towards the goal of making $100 billion available annually by 2020 by the rich countries for climate-related projects in poor countries.
  5. The current NDC pledges made by the countries will not be sufficient to put us below the 2ºC target.
  6. Present Scenario: In September, when the CO2 concentrations should generally be lowest, the values have remained above 400 ppm (the maximum level needed for a safe climate).
  7. In the last three years, the growth of global emissions has reduced to less than 1 percent from the previous 4 per cent per year.
  8. But, it is a challenge to expect global emissions to peak very soon and go down to zero and remain there.
  9. Recent initiatives: On October 15, a global agreement was reached to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used mainly as refrigerants and are powerful GHGs.
  10. According to estimates, this agreement could help avoid about 0.4ºC warming until 2100.
  11. The way ahead: International pressure needs to be built for building capacity to achieve the NDC goals.
  12. A significant shift in human behaviour and economic systems is required which is closely tied with atmospheric systems and the future of our planet.
  13. Several small isolated communities around the world called eco-villages and transition towns show us the way ahead. They only use renewables, people track all their emissions, and try to build communities while adopting simpler and less consumerist lifestyles.
  14. Social movements, civil society organisations, legal systems and political leaders need to work together with global solidarity, to address climate change.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

  1. A protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
  2. Aim: To protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion
  3. Was agreed on 26 August 1987, and entered into force on 26 August 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989
  4. Since then, it has undergone eight revisions

Which one of the following is associated with the issue of control and phasing out of the use of ozone-depleting substances? [Prelims 2015]

a) Bretton Woods Conference
b) Montreal Protocol
c) Kyoto Protocol
d) Nagoya Protocol

The success of Montreal Protocol

  1. As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering
  2. Climate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and 2070
  3. Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international co-operation
  4. Kofi Annan: ‘Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol’
  5. In comparison, effective burden sharing and solution proposals mitigating regional conflicts of interest have been among the success factors for the Ozone depletion challenge, where global regulation based on the Kyoto Protocol has failed to do so

India to push for funds at climate talks

  1. India would push for finance and technology from developed countries at the forthcoming talks in Morocco
  2. Green Climate Fund: India would stress most on trying to operationalise this $100 billion fund
  3. Purpose: It has been committed by developed countries to aid policy, projects and technology transfer to buffer against the impact of climate change
  4. Slow progress: Only a fraction of it has been pledged so far- so far we have got only $ 2 million of the $10 million committed this year
  5. The funds will help nations work on fulfilling their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) which aim to reduce carbon emissions
  6. Indian progress: Has already completed 12% of all pre-2020 INDCs

India ratifies historic Paris climate deal at U.N.

  1. India ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by depositing the instrument of ratification with the United Nations on the 147th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
  2. A special event was organised to mark the occasion, also observed as the International Day of Nonviolence, at the UN headquarters
  3. India is the 62nd country to ratify the agreement
  4. The agreement will enter into force one month after 55 countries that account for 55% of global emissions ratify the agreement
  5. With India’s ratification, which accounts for 4.1% of the emissions, the Agreement only needs slightly more than 3% points to reach the 55% threshold
  6. At least 14 other countries, representing at least 12% of global emissions, have committed to ratifying the pact before the end of the year

1.5 degrees target is too ambitious- policy & technology perspective- II

  1. Sequestration: In this scenario, even a 2 C target is out of reach unless engineers find ways to suck CO2 out of the air and store it underground, so-called negative emissions
  2. Issue: However, the problem with these technologies is that few of them have moved beyond the experimental stage, and those that have may pose new quandaries
  3. Biofuels: Schemes that depend on biofuels compete with food crops
  4. Issue: And if these are scaled up sufficiently to make a real dent in CO2 levels, food production must double in the next 30 years to keep up with an expanding world population
  5. Solution: Radical changes will be required, not just technical but also new values and norms

1.5 degrees target is too ambitious- policy & technology perspective- I

  1. Geo-engineering: The danger is that the goal might push us to look at geo-engineering solutions rather than how to achieve deep decarbonisation
  2. Issue: It could tempt policy makers to opt for quick fix solutions rather than a wholesale transformation of national economies
  3. Decarbonisation: Slashing the output of greenhouse gases that heat the atmosphere and oceans has long been the preferred solution to global warming
  4. Renewables: Despite a boom in renewables, emissions have continued to grow

1.5 degrees target is too ambitious- statistical perspective

  1. Projections: On current trajectories, the world is set to warm at least 3 degree C by the century’s end, a recipe for human misery and species extinction on a global scale
  2. We are already two-thirds of the way there
  3. How? Average global temperatures in 2015, the hottest year on record, were a full degree higher than 150 years ago
  4. We may see the first year of 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels within a decade

Planet-saving climate goal difficult to achieve, say experts

  1. News: The global target to prevent climate catastrophe, agreed in Paris, will be very difficult, if not impossible, to hit, according to scientists
  2. Target: The inclusion of 1.5 C, even as an aspirational goal, was hailed as a political victory, especially by poor, climate-vulnerable nations
  3. Too ambitious: However, for many scientists, 1.5 C seems virtually impossible, both technically & politically

Let’s know more about Paris Agreement

  1. Long-term goal: To keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with pre-industrial times
  2. It has an aspirational goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F)
  3. Temperatures have already risen by almost 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) since the industrial revolution
  4. INDC: Countries are required to set national targets for reducing or reining in their greenhouse gas emissions
  5. Those targets aren’t legally binding, but countries must report on their progress and update their targets every five years & the first cycle begins in 2020
  6. Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms & developing nations are encouraged to do so as their capabilities evolve over time

Climate deal comes one step closer to effect at United Nations

  1. The Paris Agreement to fight global warming came one step closer to taking effect when dozens of countries deposited their ratification of the deal at the United Nations
  2. The deal needs ratification by at least 55 countries representing 55% of global carbon dioxide emissions to take effect
  3. Now the total ratifications are 60 & represent more than 47.5% CO2 emissions
  4. 14 countries, representing 12.58% of emissions, have committed to joining the agreement in 2016
  5. This would allow the threshold of 55% of global carbon dioxide emissions to be reached

With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct? [Prelims 2016]

1- The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017
2- The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2 °C or even 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
3- Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

China, US, Europe pledge support for global aviation emissions pact- II

  1. Background: Aviation was excluded from last December’s climate accord in Paris
  2. Paris deal: Countries agreed to limit the global average rise in temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
  3. ICAO has estimated that carbon offsetting will cost operators 0.2-0.6% of total revenue from international aviation beginning in 2025, and 0.5-1.4% from 2035

China, US, Europe pledge support for global aviation emissions pact- I

  1. Target: To cap the carbon pollution of all international flights at 2020 levels will be voluntary between 2021 and 2026 and then mandatory from 2027 for the world’s largest emitters
  2. Due to be finalised at a meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September
  3. Expected to go into effect from 2021
  4. Airlines in participating countries would need to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world

China ratifies Paris agreement ahead of G20

  1. The United States was also expected to announce that it was formally joining the Paris Agreement in advance of the Group of 20 summit that starts on 4 Sept in China
  2. Climate brings ’em together: While tensions have risen between Beijing and Washington over issues including cyber hacking, the South China Sea and the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, combating climate change is one area where both countries have stressed they can work together
  3. Both were key to getting an agreement in Paris last year
  4. To build momentum for a deal, they set a 2030 deadline for emissions to stop rising and announced their shared conviction that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity
  5. Emission stats: Together, the two countries produce 38% of the world’s man-made carbon dioxide emissions

2016 set to be hottest year yet, CO2 on rise: WMO

  1. The heat has been especially pronounced in the Arctic
  2. The average temperature in the first 6 months of 2016 was 1.3°C warmer than the pre-industrial era in the late 19th Century
  3. Pre-industrial era in the late 19th Century is usually taken as a benchmark for such alarms
  4. Remember the Paris Agreement on Climate Change? 
  5. Under December’s Paris Agreement, nearly 200 governments agreed to limit global warming to ‘well below’ 2°C above pre-industrial times

Donald Trump promises to cancel Paris climate agreement

  1. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump promised to increase oil, coal and gas production and incentivise fracking
  2. He also ridiculed renewable energy technologies
  3. His views on climate change seek to overturn existing U.S. policies
  4. He intends to cancel the Paris climate agreement & would at minimum renegotiate it

Why sea ice cover around Antarctica is rising

  1. Reason: The geology of Antarctica and depth of Ocean surrounding it is responsible for rising of ice cover around Antarctica
  2. These two factors are also influencing winds and ocean currents
  3. Radar data from NASA’s QuikScat satellite from 1999 to 2009 helped trace the paths of Antarctic sea ice movements and map its different types

France will take the lead in pricing carbon

  1. Context: According to an official UN communiqué, France would take the lead to set a price on carbon
  2. Significance: While the Paris agreement does mention carbon pricing, it does not compel anyone to implement it

About Carbon pricing

  1. Carbon pricing is an alternative to a regime of emissions trading (ET)
  2. Climatologists see it as an important step towards doing away with dirty fuel
  3. It is also considered to be a diplomatic way to get countries to own responsibility for their polluting actions
  4. Fixing responsibility has otherwise proven to be difficult in the past, with countries such as the U.S. opposing legally binding emission caps

About Emission trading

  1. ET was signed up for in 1997, as part of the Kyoto Protocol
  2. Countries who meet their emission targets could sell ‘credits’ to those who struggled to meet them
  3. It created a carbon market & hasn’t been successful in emissions reduction
  4. The carbon market was also seen by critics as a way for polluters to continue business as usual

175 countries sign Paris Agreement

  1. Context: A total of 175 countries, including India, signed the Paris climate agreement at the United Nations
  2. Record: This constitutes a record for a one-day signing of an international accord
  3. States that do not sign on Friday have a year to do so
  4. The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions have formally joined it

Developed countries must tax coal for climate fund

  1. Context: Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, ahead of signing the Paris climate agreement in New York
  2. What? We would exhort developed countries to take a cue from India and impose a tax on coal production to the tune of $6 per tonne
  3. Impact: This would kick-start the annual $100 billion fund promised by developed nations to tackle climate change

Mitigating Arctic warming

Norwayfjord


  1. Context: The warming in Arctic region can be reduced by 0.2 degrees C by 2050 by cutting down emissions of short-lived climate forcers
  2. Includes: Black carbon, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds, organic carbon and tropospheric ozone
  3. Focus of Study: Effect of emission of each of these agents on Arctic temperature and contribution to warming or cooling
  4. Relevance: Short-lived climate forcers are particulate matter of various kinds emitted into atmosphere by natural and anthropogenic sources
  5. This emissions stay in atmosphere for at most a period of 1 month but cutting down their emissions can bring in results quickly.
  6. Important Findings: Largest absolute contributor (including both warming and cooling emissions) was the Asian region with domestic activities emitting large amounts of black carbon
  7. Highest per unit warming was from flaring emissions from Russia followed by forest fires and flaring from Nordic countries

Climate change may kill over 130,000 Indians in 2050

  1. Context: A study in the British medical journal The Lancet
  2. Findings: Climate change could kill over 130,000 people in India in 2050 because of changes in diet and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity
  3. If global emissions remain unchanged, the projected improvement in food availability could come down by about 1/3rd by 2050
  4. Low and middle-income nations are likely to be worst affected, predominantly in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific
  5. Almost 3-quarters of climate-related deaths predicted in China and India

Seas are rising at fastest rate in last 28 centuries

  1. Context: tidal flooding in American coastal communities is worsening
  2. Reason: largely, the greenhouse gases from human activity
  3. Effects: killing lawns and trees, blocking neighbourhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater
  4. Sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland
  5. The problem will grow far worse in coming decades

What is AWARE project?

  1. Context: The AWARE project by the United States located at Mc Murdo station in Antarctica
  2. Target: It will observe how climate change affects the polar region
  3. Relevance: As it has been determined that when the polar region warms, the location of the boundary between the polar and Ferrel cells will change, along with the strength of circulation in both cells
  4. Conclusion: This in turn will influence the strength of tropical circulation on the other side of the Ferrel cell
  5. These linkages between polar regions and mid-and tropical latitudes are known as teleconnections

Antarctica influencing weather in tropics

  1. Context: Scientists are coming to grips with how weather in Antarctica is influencing climate as far away as the tropics
  2. Relevance: Researchers discovered an influence of atmospheric circulation in the Wilkes Land and Ross Sea regions of Antarctica on
    precipitation from the East Asian monsoon
  3. The News: The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) project gains importance
  4. Study: How climate change and associated atmospheric physics are affecting Antarctica
  5. Result: An expanding Hadley cell is generally expected to result from a globally warming atmosphere
  6. So the Antarctic warming from cloud property change is a positive feedback on a warming climate

India praised for climate change initiatives

Implementation of renewable energy targets, set as part of the Paris Agreement by countries like India and China, can drastically shift global markets

  1. The ambitious goals set by India on solar energy is driven by economic development of the country
  2. India’s solar power capacity target for 2030 has increased from 20 GW to 175 GW
  3. The US has only about 25 GW of solar capacity
  4. At the same time as investment in renewables is surging, demand for high-polluting fuels such as coal is stalling globally
  5. Even declining in fast-growing economies like India, where imports dropped by 34% in 2015

Indian climate models to aid future IPCC reports

India will have its own climate change models to project the impact of global warming over the decades.

  1. It will form part of the forthcoming 6th IPCC reports that are expected to be available in 2020.
  2. The climate models will be prepared by the Pune-based Centre for Climate Change Research.
  3. These dynamic models rely on super-computers to compute the weather on a given day and simulate how it would evolve over days, months and even years.
  4. These models, developed in the US, have over few years been customised to Indian conditions.
  5. Their ability to predict the Indian monsoon has consistently improved over the years.

Differentiation now forward-looking: U.S.

  1. Differentiation in climate responsibility will now be a forward-looking concept.
  2. The earlier notion of differentiated responsibilities had accounted for the historical role of developed countries in high global carbon emissions, though it could not be implemented.
  3. The current framework provides for robust financial and technological support for the poor and developing countries with a strong participation of the private sector.

A monumental triumph for earth: U.N. chief

In the face of an unprecedented challenge, you have demonstrated unprecedented leadership: Ban Ki-Moon.

  1. The pact was fair in splitting responsibility between developed and developing countries.
  2. The Paris Climate Conference is a crucial point in the global climate governance process.
  3. The outcome has a bearing with the undertaking of climate change of the human being and our future of sustainable development.
  4. The World Bank welcomed the “historic” accord, saying it reflected aspiration and seriousness to preserve the planet for future generations.

Historic Paris climate pact puts world on green path

CoP21 agreement adopted unanimously at the plenary session amid cheers; Common but differentiated responsibilities give developing nations a cushion.

The first global evaluation of the implementation of the Paris Agreement is to take place in 2023, and thereafter every five years to help all countries.

Major features of the text

  • It takes into account the differentiation and responsibility of developing countries, and their respective capacities in light of national circumstances
  • Key objective of containing mean global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and to endeavour to limit it to 1.5 degrees

Draft Paris Agreement

  • There will be 5-yearly national contributions on actions taken to address climate change
  • Provision of 100 billion per year as a floor by 2020 to help developing nations.

Paris climate talks go down to the wire

According to Environment Minister, the success of the Paris conference now depends on the spirit of accommodation and flexibility of the West.

  1. India is taking the line that developed countries are rigid, leaving little flexibility for alternative solutions.
  2. The world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, China, remains firm on differentiation.
  3. In COP21, India faces criticism for trying to weaken the legal rigour of a 5-year review mechanism and engaging in brinkmanship.
  4. In reservations on periodic review of the INDCs, civil society organisations agree that the proposal remains vague on whether it includes finance and technology transfer.

Global NGOs want roadmap to 1.5 degrees

Global NGOs raised the pressure with a joint demand that the final pact spell out the roadmap to achieving the goal of 1.5°C rise in temperature.

  1. Oxfam, Greenpeace, the WWF, the International Trade Union Confederation, ActionAid, and CIDSE, a Catholic network come together to raise a voice for common climate goal.
  2. The leaders at the Paris climate conference should catch up with the world and meet the demands of people and communities who wanted them to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy access for all.
  3. The voluntary pledges made by countries, called INDCs, were totally inadequate for the task of cutting carbon emissions significantly.
  4. The level of ambition in these pledges should be raised before 2020 by the rich countries, which had the capacity to do so.
  5. Justice must be ensured for the people who suffer the impact of the historic problem.

No accord yet, Paris climate talks go into overtime

Provisions in the new near-final outcome text would deal a blow to small island states and coastal countries that experience more intense weather events.

The climate talks in Paris went into overtime, as countries hit a hurdle on three major issues

  • Differentiation between developed and developing nations
  • Financial arrangements for the developing world
  • Ambition for a global temperature target
  1. The new near-final outcome text controversially has two options on meeting loss and damage needs of developing nations.
  2. One is a general provision that talks of the averting, minimizing and addressing it, and another, more detailed, excludes any regime of liability and compensation.
  3. The second provides countries help with risk assessment, risk management, insurance, help to relocate those displaced by climate event change.

BASIC optimistic about legally binding Paris deal

Group makes it clear that while they were fully cooperating with France to arrive at an agreement, they would like to see specific and clear provisions on financial support.

  1. The BASIC group committed themselves to a comprehensive, balanced, ambitious and legally binding agreement emerging from the Paris Climate Change conference.
  2. They cautioned that it must not deviate from differentiation principles that are already part of the UNFCCC.
  3. Pre-2020 action by all parties is part of the mandate given in the climate conference in Durban, South Africa 4 years ago.
  4. Developing countries can make voluntary bilateral donations or engage in other forms of South-South cooperation.
  5. BASIC countries facing pressure from the US and EU to widen the base of countries making climate finance donations, although on a “voluntary” basis, covering emerging economies.

Vacate carbon space: India to West

Country burns one-seventh of the coal consumed by the top two nations: Prakash Javadekar.

  1. India asked developed countries how their economies could grow without growth in India and other developing nations.
  2. India is being asked for a peaking date for coal use.
  3. As China has provided, and urged to adopt a five-yearly periodic review of its national emission reduction pledges.
  4. In absolute terms, the United States and many other countries had more emissions from coal than India did.
  5. The BASIC group — India, China, Brazil and South Africa, will have a meeting, apparently to forge a consensus and resist some of the pressures from the developed world.

Proposal to achieve zero emissions growth by 2060-80

Informed sources confirmed that India felt that a transparency and accountability regime should not treat rich and poor nations alike.

  1. Agreement in Paris would unlock massive investments in renewable energy technologies by recognising plans that cover 94 per cent of global carbon emissions of 184 countries.
  2. A technology framework will be part of the deal, “providing overarching guidance to the work of the Technology Mechanism”.
  3. It would promote and facilitate enhanced action on technology development and transfer.
  4. The document that forms the basis for final Paris Agreement prepared by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action of the UNFCCC.

Draft Paris pact stresses ‘voluntary contributions’

India says it’s ready for a regime of stocktaking of future carbon emissions.

  1. In a clear signal that active diplomacy is at work to forge an agreement in Paris based on voluntary pledges, one that is subject to transparent monitoring.
  2. India is not in a position to fix a target year for peaking of carbon emissions because of the current state of its development.
  3. In summary, the review favoured a 1.5 degrees rise over a 2 degree rise that would greatly affect vulnerable nations, said Climate Action Network International.

India ready to cut coal dependence if given clean-tech, funds

India made it clear that development of solar and wind energy will remain its first commitment followed by hydro and nuclear power while the rest will be from coal.

  1. India looks at an agreement in Paris which “enables” financial support from those nations who have developed on the “backs of cheap energy“.
  2. To those who have to meet their energy demands with more expensive but low-carbon or zero-carbon energy.
  3. The 12-day climate conference in Paris will for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations.
  4. Aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2 degrees C over pre-industrial temperatures.

Let’s know about the G77?

  1. Group of 77 was established on the 15th of June 1964 during a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in Geneva.
  2. To promote equality in the international economic and social order and promote the interests of the developing world.
  3. This was largely seen as an initial step towards the international endorsement of a new trade policy for development.
  4. South Africa holds the Chairmanship for 2015.

G77, China mount sharp attack on rich nations

Accuse them of trying to amend the UNFCCC by tying finance to conditionalities in the draft agreement of Paris summit.

  1. The G77+China views this as a deviation from what was agreed at the Climate Change conference held in Durban in 2011.
  2. The mandate at that event was for full implementation of the UNFCCC, and come up with an agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020.
  3. Two sharp issues raised by the group are on the inclusion of loosely defined text and conditionalities to financing.
  4. The G77 group is also unhappy with the foregrounding of decarbonisation in the draft text.

India has a smart plan for fighting climate change

There’s merit to Modi’s demand for ‘climate justice’ and success in Paris requires that all countries recognize it.

Solarpanelsetup


  • To many eyes, India looks like a roadblock to an effective world climate deal.
  • PM Modi’s demand for “climate justice” that, rich nations should reduce their carbon emissions even as India and others continue to pollute.

How does PM’s central argument is sound?

  • India can’t accept a hard limit on emissions when it’s still trying to lift hundreds of millions of Indians, more than 20% of whom lack electricity, out of poverty.
  • Western nations are most responsible for the greenhouse gases (Historical emissions) now in the atmosphere.

What’s the balanced solution on it?

  • India has pressed developed nations to fulfil their promise to provide $100 billion a year to help India and others develop clean energy.
  • What the country needs more is access to cheaper capital.
  • It’s taken welcome steps in this direction by authorizing tax-free investment bonds and by setting up programmes to encourage private investment in renewables.

The Way Forward

  • Better clean and grid technology could allow India to tap its potential for rooftop solar projects and access to next-generation solar cells could lower costs further.
  • If India can’t raise its climate targets immediately, it should at least not block efforts to scrutinize the progress that all countries are making.

In the short term, India’s carbon emissions are virtually certain to rise. But that doesn’t mean the country can’t help move the world toward a clean-energy future.

India wants funding, tech in Paris text

  1. India is pushing for provisions in the Paris text for a technology and financial mechanism.
  2. These mechanisms will make it possible to raise low-cost capital and widely deploy renewable technologies.
  3. The provisions on finance and technology are central to the goals to reduce carbon emissions for developing countries as they grow.

India asks rich nations to cut emissions, share carbon space with poor

Prime Minister wants the $100 billion a year plan for assistance from the rich to poor nations by 2020 expedited.

  1. A plan to reduce carbon intensity of growth by 33-35 per cent over 2005 levels.
  2. India will raise the share of non-fossil fuel power to 40 per cent by 2030, to produce 175 GW of renewable power by 2022.
  3. India was the third largest emitter of atmosphere-warming greenhouse gases (7 per cent), after China (25 per cent) and the U.S. (15 per cent).
  4. As per historical terms, India’s contribution to the cumulative stock of gases already in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution is negligible, with America occupying the major share.

Why India must up the stakes in Paris

While India should not hesitate to defend its interests at the climate negotiations, it should be careful to not paint itself into a corner.

COP21ParisSummit


  • The Paris climate negotiations are a pivotal moment for global climate policy and carry huge implications for India’s developmental future.
  • In a political move, as a highly vulnerable country, with relatively high energy efficiency, low per capita carbon emissions, and a respectable track record of domestic initiatives, India has a good hand. But it has to play it well.

How does India achieve both substantive and political objectives coming out of Paris?

  • India needs to join the gathering consensus that the 2015 agreement will take the form of a legally binding treaty.
  • A treaty signals the highest expression of political will, generates accountability and predictability in implementation, and typically survives national political changes.
  • Secondly, India needs to argue for a more effective review and update process.
  • That includes regular, 5-year updates based on a global aggregate stocktaking of country contributions is in India’s interest as a highly vulnerable country.

How does a tailored approach to differentiation makes a difference?

  • The tailored approach to differentiation will need to build on the notion of ‘self-differentiation,’ in which countries implicitly place themselves along a spectrum of actions through their climate pledges.
  • India could use a key idea at Paris, the ‘progression principle’.
  • That each country moves over time to ever more ambitious pledges, to argue that progression should be based on current starting points which reflect developed and developing countries’ differences.

India’s climate diplomacy must rise to the challenge of protecting its interests in a manner suited to the emerging political and negotiating context.

Let’s know United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change?

  1. UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
  2. It was also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
  3. The objective of the treaty is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

 

Hopes rise for Paris climate deal

Paris prepares to host the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change conference beginning on Monday.

  1. For India and other developing countries, the momentum that has built around the Paris conference is an opportunity to press their case for funds from the First World.
  2. On the issue of raising funds to help developing countries mitigate their carbon emissions, and help communities adapt to climate change consequences.
  3. Funding poor countries with 100 billion dollars a year by 2020.
  4. It’s one of the decided actions under the UNFCCC, although only pledges totalling about ten billion have come in so far.

What is carbon space?

  1. The IPCC, in its 5th Assessment Report, has published a carbon dioxide(CO2) emission budget, which tells us how much CO2 can the world emit to stay below 2°C global warming.
  2. IPCC estimates that to remain below 2°C the world can emit only about 2,900 Gt of CO2 from all sources from the dawn of industrial revolution till 2100.
  3. Till 2011, the world has already emitted 1,900 Gt of CO2.
  4. This means that out of the budget of 2,900 Gt, only 1,000 Gt remains to be used between now and 2100.
  5. It is also called as Carbon budget.

India to press for equity at climate talks despite pressure

India has been engaging with Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries along with developed nations to evolve a consensus.

  1. Two areas of failure in the climate process are creation of the $100-billion annual climate finance fund, and transfer of green technologies.
  2. The other contested area is that of transparency norms for use of funds.
  3. The overall approach of the rich countries is seen as expanding the base of contributors, while shrinking the base of recipients.
  4. India is also taking the lead in demanding the major share of the carbon space for the developing world.

Green Indian Mission plans approved for 4 states

Union Environment Ministry has approved annual plans of National Mission for Green India (GIM) of four states viz. Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur and Jharkhand.

  1. In this regard, National Executive Council (NEC) has approved the Perspective Plans (PP) and Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) of GIM submitted by 4 states.
  2. The approval has been granted for alternative energy devices such as biogas, LPG, solar devices, biomass-based systems and improved stoves.
  3. GIM is one of the 8 key Missions outlined under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  4. It aims at protecting, enhancing and restoring India’s decreasing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of mitigation and adaptation measures.

Now ‘right moment’ for carbon tax: IMF chief

The time is right for governments to introduce taxes on carbon emissions, which would help fight global warming and raise badly needed revenue.

  1. Besides discouraging pollution, taxing greenhouse gas emissions would added bonus of helping governments boost their revenues at a time when many countries have dipped heavily into their “fiscal buffers”.
  2. Governments needs to tax carbon emissions rather than rely on emissions trading.
  3. Revenues from carbon taxes could contribute to rich nations’ funding target of USD 100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer nations fight the impacts of climate change.

Climate goals on target

The significance of India’s re-framing of climate change as climate justice goes beyond the numbers, which focus on milestones in emissions reduction rather than global transformation

ClimateChange


  • From the perspective of International Energy Agency, India will use less coal for electricity generation than the US even in 2040.
  • India is the third largest economy in terms of PPP. In the recent times, it is offering concrete deliverables.
  • It has achieved an emissions intensity reduction of 18.6%. India now aims for 33 to 35%.
  • India has decided to have 40% of the total installed power capacity in 2030 based on non-fossil fuel-based.
  • Currently, renewable energy, nuclear energy and hydropower together contribute 30% of the overall installed capacity.
  • India is seeking investments of U.S. $100 billion over seven years to boost the domestic solar energy capacity by 33 times to 1,00,000 megawatts by 2022.

Snapshot of Governmental efforts

  • PM Modi’s campaign for climate change sets geopolitical shift inculcates confidence to shape the new rules.
  • PM has also called for countries to “take into account the levels of development of various countries and allow them the developmental space so that they can also aspire to become middle and developed countries”.
  • The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions state that India’s “objective in Paris in December 2015 is to establish an effective, cooperative and equitable global architecture”.

Three milestone elements of framework

  • Promoting sustainable production processes and sustainable lifestyles across the globe.
  • Creation of a regime where facilitative technology transfer replaces an exploitative market-driven mechanism.
  • A common understanding of universal progress.

Analysing facts

  • Experts say that nearly two-fifth of the cumulative emission reductions required by 2050 could come from efficiency improvements.
  • Key systems such as the transport, energy, housing and food systems should be transformed.

Korea’s Hoesung Lee named head of IPCC. What’s IPCC?

  1. What’s IPCC you ask?
  2. IPCC is there to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
  3. To date, this UN body has issued 5 heavyweight assessment reports on the state of the climate.
  4. The IPCC itself is run by a small secretariat in Geneva.

 

Appointments like these provide us a good time to reflect back on the organisations at large. Who knows whether the mighty UPSC sneaks in an objective or two!

BBC

India banks on subsidy cuts, higher taxes on fuels

  1. India would need to spend at least $2.5 trillion during 2015-30 on mitigation activities to meet its INDC targets.
  2. India is banking on fiscal measures including fuel subsidy cuts and increased taxes on fossil fuels including diesel and petrol.
  3. India is experimenting with fiscal instruments and regulatory interventions to mobilise finances for climate change.
  4. The coal cess forms the corpus for the National Clean Environment Fund which is used for financing clean energy, technologies, and projects related to it.

The subsidies cuts and increased taxes on fossil fuels have turned a carbon subsidy regime into one of carbon taxation.

India unveils climate target to cut carbon intensity

India pledges 33-35 pct cut in carbon intensity by 2030 from 2005 levels.

  1. No “peak emissions” target or carbon market pledges and coal set to be dominating power sector in future.
  2. It would target 40 per cent cumulative installed power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. 
  3. China, the world’s biggest emitter, pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by 60-65 per cent by 2030, by carbon trading.
  4. India did not give a commitment in its submission to establishing carbon trading. 
  5. India need to spend around $206 billion between 2015 and 2030 for actions in agriculture, forestry, infrastructure, ecosystems etc.

India will set emissions reduction target: Javadekar

India’s INDCs will contain an emissions reduction target, as well as a target for reducing energy intensity.

  1. China proposed to peak its emissions around 2030 and increase its share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by the same year as part of its INDCs.
  2. Chinese President declared that they would launch a nationwide cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions from 2017.
  3. India has to put economic growth before committing itself to cut down emissions, a measure that will slow down the economy.
  4. The climate change debate must lead to a debate on unsustainable consumption and lifestyles such as those of the average American.

13 nations roar on climate change burden

The 13 participating nations are Argentina, Bolivia, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Ecuador, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Malaysia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and India.

  1. Climate change negotiators from 13 Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs),calling for developed nations to not pass on the financial burden of climate action on developing countries.
  2. The Paris agreement should ensure the provision of adequate support by developed countries to developing countries in meeting their needs and costs of adaptation actions.
  3. The countries also called on the developed countries to provide a clear roadmap for raising the promised $ 100 billion per year by 2020 for the Green Climate Fund.
  4. LMDCs deeply concerned with the slow pace of negotiations given the limited negotiating time left before Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 in Paris.
  5. The countries reiterated their view that the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) have to be comprehensive,lays down guidelines for national and regional development plans to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and curbing climate change.

A major step by US to tackle climate change

  1. The final rules propose to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% (against previous target of 30%) of 2005 level by 2030.
  2. The states will have to submit final plans by 2018 (instead of 2017) and comply by 2022 (instead of 2020).
  3. Until now there were no federal limits on the amount of pollution coal fired plants could produce.
  4. These plants provide 37% of power supply and 40% of emissions.
  5. The move has got mixed response with Republicans voicing opposition, saying they would be economically damaging.

Obama to unveil strongest climate plan in U.S. history

  1. Obama will unveil a set of environmental regulations to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants and ultimately transform America’s electricity industry.
  2. These rules are tougher versions of regulations announced by Environmental Protection Agency  in 2012 and 2014.
  3. It could  lead to closing of many coal-fired power plants, freeze construction of new ones and create a boom in the renewable energy sources.
  4. These regulations require the nation’s power plants to cut the emissions by 32 % by 2030 from 2005 levels.

[op-ed snap] Getting the climate story right

  1. A ‘2015 Agreement’ is to be signed at the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Paris, this December.
  2. Currently, there is no international benchmark of what counts as sufficient climate action but then every country needs to have a story. Right?
  3. India is in the early stage of 3 transformations: a demographic transition for which its needs to create jobs; a shift from a rural to an at least half-urban society; and vastly expanded infrastructure to support both transitions.
  4. Given these factors, it would be foolhardy to place a cap on India’s carbon headroom.
  5. Still, India must signal serious intent, both because it wants to be seen as a responsible global player, and because an effective climate agreement is firmly in its own interests.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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