From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Action on climate change - global challenges
Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. This will cover a key issue that came in the news and for which students must pay attention. This will also take care of certain key issues students have to cover in respective GS papers.
Global Climate Action Summit backed by the United Nations Secretary General seeks to bring concrete climate action with the support of global youth protests. It seeks to spur action to address climate change.
Climate change is a reality
- The scientific advisory group to the summit reports the following
- five years since 2015 is set to be the warmest of any equivalent recorded period
- sea-level rise is accelerating
- oceans have become 26% more acidic since the dawn of the Industrial era
- Recent weather events show the implications of a warming world
- this summer saw Delhi-like temperatures across southern Europe
- Hurricane Dorian rendered large parts of the Bahamas unliveable
- simultaneous raging fires in the Amazon, central Africa, and even Siberia
- Scientists are able to link these individual events with climate change. Heatwave in France and Germany was made 8 to 10 times more likely by climate change.
Root causes continue
Concentrations of CO2 continue to rise and current country pledges would not stem this increase even by 2030.
- This has spurred an upwelling of social action among the youth.
- An estimated 4 million youth turned out in protest on Friday against inaction on climate change around the world.
Problems in addressing the issue at hand
- A turn toward nationalism in multiple countries has created a short-term, look-out-for-our-own mentality inimical to the global collective action.
- United States president not only refuses to enhance actions but has actively rolled back measures in the electricity sector and actions to limit methane emissions in the name of competitiveness.
- In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has made it clear he sees environmental protections as limiting Brazilian business.
UN Summit – possibilities
- Countries have been urged to enhance their pledges for action made as part of the Paris Agreement.
- A number of small and mid-sized countries, including the United Kingdom, have already committed to achieving the objective of making their economies net carbon neutral by 2050.
- Several large countries such as the United States, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Japan, and Mexico are reportedly not even going to participate in the event at a high level.
- China and India have issued hinted that they are doing quite enough.
- India has highlighted the need for enhanced finance if it is to do more.
- By the use of diplomacy, it seeks to induce changes in real economies around a set of ‘action portfolios’.
- Furthering and accelerating an energy transition toward low-carbon energy
- Making cities more climate-friendly and more resilient to climate disruption
- Starting the process of turning energy-intensive sectors such as steel and cement more carbon friendly.
- Domestic objectives are central to these actions:
- promoting solar energy for energy security reasons
- making cities more liveable
- making industries more efficient and competitive
What India should do
- India is a deeply vulnerable country to climate impacts. It should argue for enhanced global collective action.
- India has the potential to show the pathway to accelerating action on climate change while pursuing its development interests.
- Its energy efficiency track record helps limit greenhouse gases even while saving the nation’s energy.
- India is recognised for promoting renewable energy but is working on future coal use.
- While some increase in fossil fuel is inevitable for India, it needs domestic energy policies that are more clearly and coherently tuned to a future low carbon world.
- India should be a truly global climate leader, rather than a leader only among climate laggards.
- India and China can jointly help ensure that Africa’s development is powered by renewable energy rather than fossil fuels and based on an energy-efficient future.
- The pathway to enhanced action is unlikely to override entrenched national politics.
- The aim should be to make accelerated climate action congruent with national interest by focusing on areas such as energy and urbanisation.